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How to minimize dog hair in your house.

Are you noticing more dog hair in your house than usual?

Tis the season for shedding.  Practical tips on keeping the hair at bay.

Long hair or short hair, both are a problem if there is lots of it.  Here is how I keep the hair at a minimum in my house:

  1. Long haired dogs are brushed regularly.  I make sure the knots are out by starting with a (a.) soft brush and scissors, if needed.  Then I go for the (b.) rake brush to get down to the undercoat.  My golden retriever’s hair comes out in SHEETS.  I thought something was wrong with her this year because of all the hair that was coming out.  She’s fine though…

 

2.  After a good brushing, vacuum.  Vacuuming your house and furniture will help keep the hair down.  If you brush regularly you shouldn’t feel the need to vacuum every day, all day.

3.  Shaving.  Please resist the urge to shave your double coated dog.  They have a double coat for a reason and if you eliminate it you could be causing harm to your dog.  The double coat keeps them from getting sun burnt, keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  It’s natural protection for them.  If you shave a double coated dog, their hair may not grow back properly, leaving bald spots.  I made the mistake of shaving my golden’s once.  Never again!

Shaving long haired dogs like Cocker Spaniels is fine.  Mine gets groomed, by a professional, every couple of months.

3.  Short haired dogs.  Yes, they shed.  Yes the hair gets everywhere, stuck in the fibers of your furniture and clothing.  Bathing helps remove loose hair.  Bathing plus the use of the Zoom Groom from Kong is a great combination.  I use the Zoom Groom while bathing and for dry brushing.  It’s like a magnet for hair!

Pet Sitter in Mesa AZ Offers Canine Massage

Dogs young and old can reap the benefits of canine massage.  As pet sitters, we see dogs with hip dysplasia, stiff joints and a limited range of motion.  Canine massage is a branch of massage therapy that promotes health in dogs. Mesa Pet Sitter Offers Canine Massage

Benefits can include helping to relieve pain, helping to make joints more flexible, improving the range of motion, and benefiting the immune system of dogs.  Dogs receiving regular massages are healthier, happier, more willing to accept affection and training. They are more fulfilled dogs.

Through touch, they feel affection and reassurance. Touch provides them a means of processing socialization, support and balance.  Massage increases circulation; it enhances flexibility and improves metabolic efficiency.  The increased circulation that dogs’ bodies receive during any basic full body massage session is equivalent to about a half-hour leisurely walk in the park.  This could be considered another form of exercise!

In addition, canine massage can provide emotional well-being for the animal. Massage therapist often work with animals to calm hyperactivity, anxiousness, and nervousness.  Regular massages can also help the pet parent find masses and lumps and track their size in case of growth.

We have a pet sitter on our team that is trained in performing canine massage.  Canine massage goes hand in hand with canine Reiki.  Does it sound like your pet can benefit from regular massages?

Pet Sitter Recommends These Great Gifts for the Pet Lover

Looking for the perfect gift for the pet lover in your family?  As a pet sitter in Mesa, AZ I use the following items in my own home and carry them with me to client’s homes as well.  In my opinion, they are essentials for every pet lover and will make their lives so much easier when it comes to cleaning up after their pets.

The Swiffer SweeperVac:

Not to be confused with the all in one WetJet.  The Swiffer SweeperVac not only picks up and attracts pet hair it also vacuums up small debris.  This two in one is an essential piece to keeping hair at bay.  Unlike a typical vacuum, the sweeper pad collects hair and dirt rather than dispersing hair into the air from the exhaust.  I recommend this product to every pet sitting client who’s pets shed.  It’s so quick and easy to clean up pet hair, I use it in all my client’s homes.

The Shark Steam Cleaning PocketMop

This is the reason why I don’t recommend the Swiffer all in one WetJet.  The Shark Steam Cleaner uses steam to clean floors rather than chemicals.  Using water (steam) to clean your floors is much less toxic than using other products and it sterilizes your floors at the same time.  If you have pets (or kids) and have tried to mop your floors while keeping them off until the floors dry, you know how difficult it can be.  You either have to barricade your pets from the room until it dries or play some crazy game of shoo dog shoo.  With the steam cleaner, the floor dries in about 3 seconds and doesn’t streak.  The first time I used mine it was like a miracle!  I recommend this product to all my pet sitting clients who are concerned about using toxic chemicals to clean their floors.

The Bissell Spotbot 

For quick clean up of pet messes this is the product to use.  It’s light weight and hands free. We’ve used this on many occasions to clean up pet messes while pet sitting.  You just set it and forget it!

If you are at a loss as to what to get the pet lover in your life, you won’t go wrong with any of the above suggestions.  I know, it may seem like your buying an appliance, which is typically taboo, but believe me, that pet lover with thank you for it!

What other gifts would you suggest for pet lovers?

Pet Sitter in Mesa AZ Offers K-9 Reiki

What is canine Reiki and how can your dog benefit from it? Mesa Pet Sitter offers Canine Reiki

Canine Reiki is similar to human Reiki.  The word Reiki translates as “spiritual energy.”  Thus in reality, all things consist of Reiki, since all things are made of energy.  Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.  (Compliments of Reiki.org). Animals respond intuitively to Reiki’s power to support the healing of emotional, behavioral, and physical illnesses and injuries.

For example, Reiki can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, support an acupuncture treatment, and complement the effects of flower essences.

For dying animals, Reiki is a powerful yet gentle way to provide comfort, relief from pain, fear, and anxiety, and to ease the transition to death. Reiki is also a wonderful way to support a dying animal’s family.

The typical treatment consists of an ebb and flow of hands-on/short distance Reiki as well as short periods of movement and relaxation.

Forty percent of Americans have tried holistic therapies, and 60 percent of U.S. households have at least one pet. It’s no surprise, then, that those same people are increasingly turning to energy healing and other holistic therapies to help their furry friends.  (Compliments of Animal Wellness Magazine, June 2011)

We have a pet sitter on our team who is trained in performing canine Reiki.  We would love to talk to you about how we can assist you and your pet further through holistic means.

Check out my dog, Nugget, getting his Reiki done:

Who Watches MY Dogs When I Go On Vacation?

As a pet sitter it’s hard to take time off.  Mostly because I’m needed here to watch everyone else’s pets while they go on vacation.  My holidays aren’t during normal holidays, they are usually celebrated the week before or after.  So, what DO I do when I need to get away?

I’m super blessed to have a wonderful staff that can not only take care of business, but whom I also trust caring for my own dogs when I go away.  This year my husband and I took a week long vacation to visit family and I had one of my very own pet sitters take care of my dogs.  You know what I came home to?  Well adjusted, happy dogs…

Sure they were happy to see us.  But they weren’t all frantic like no one had been around in hours.  We get a more frantic greeting by our dogs when we leave them for a couple hours during the day.  My pet sitter, the one who stayed with my dogs while we were gone, was awesome!  I got the picture updates, just like our clients do.  As a worried mommy myself, I contacted my sitter a couple times during the first few days I was away, just because I missed my kids so much.  I just wanted to check in a time or two extra and my sitter was totally fine with it.

This time we decided to have a sitter live in our house while we were gone.  Last time we went on vacation we had a sitter spend the night every other night.  I must say, experiencing this for myself, there is a HUGE difference in my dogs adjustment and behaviors when someone is living with them than when someone is just stopping by or spending the night every other night.  It was as if we never left home.  This was such a great experience for me that I am totally sold on the live in services of my own company :).

Mesa Pet Sitter Recommends Washing Pet Toys

Washing your pet’s toys for them is like getting a brand new toy.  As a pet sitter in Mesa, AZ I see A LOT of dirty pet toys and wonder how often pet parents wash their pet’s toys, or if they even considered the benefits of washing them.

So I ask, How often do you wash your pet’s toys?  Your pet may destroy their toys before they need washing, but, if your pet’s treat them like treasures and like to keep them around for a long time, you may want to consider washing them on occasion.  Washing your pet toys will remove outside dirt (mud, fertilizer, urine) and slimy saliva from hours of playtime.  Washing them will also remove your pet’s scent from the toys which might make them a little crazy, but give them hours of fun putting their scent back on their favorite toys.  It’s like getting a brand new toy (that you already know they love to play with) and you don’t have to spend the money on new toys!

How do you wash pet toys?  As a pet sitter I’ve read the tags and the packaging to make sure I’m washing them correctly.

Plush Toys should be hand washed with a mild soap and rinsed thoroughly.  Depending on the time of year, I may set them outside in the sun to let them dry, or put them in the dryer without a dryer softener. 

Hard Plastic Toys can be washed in the dishwasher on the the top rack.  I would suggest washing them without any dishes in the dish washer, well, just because the thought is kinda gross 🙂 

How often should you wash your pet’s toys?  That is a hard question to answer.  That really depends on how often you pet’s play with them and hard dirty they get.  I have my home exterminated once a month and pick all the toys up so they don’t accidentally get sprayed.  I make this the time to wash the toys.  So they get cleaned once a month unless there are unusual circumstances where they get exceptionally dirty, then a toy might get washed more frequently.

Best time to wash your pet’s toys:

After a long, hard play session at the dog park when other dogs may come into contact with your pet’s toys.

After playing fetch in a muddy backyard.

If you noticed your pet “marked” his/her toy.

Inside toys…once a month or when you notice a change in color to a definite brown (dirty) color.

If you notice an unpleasant odor coming from them.

Just because your pet’s toys get dirty, doesn’t mean you have to throw them away.  A good cleaning will freshen them up and help them last longer.

What do you think about washing your pet’s toys?  Do they last long enough to get washed?

Overnight Pet Sitter in Mesa AZ

Our overnight pet sitters are one of the most requested services we provide.  Pet parents like the option of overnight pet sitters because their pet’s are used to having someone home at night to sleep with or spend time with.  Whether it is a luxury or necessity is up to you to decide.

What goes on during an overnight pet sit?  A sitter arrives by 8:00 pm and leaves by 8:00 am the following morning.  Your pet gets one on one attention for the entire time your sitter is there.  We focus on play time, belly rubs, fresh food and water and cuddle time.  If your pet is used to sleeping with you, our sitters are happy to cuddle with your babies as well.

The beauty of choosing an overnight pet sitter is your pets are well adjusted when you get home.  It’s really as if you never left!  The pets that get the most enjoyment out of an overnight pet sitter are seniors, puppies and little breeds.  They LOVE the attention and the warmth our sitters provide.

Here is a checklist to see if you would make a good candidate for hiring an overnight pet sitter:

Do you talk baby talk to your pets?

Do you like to snuggle wuggle with your pets?

Do you allow your pets to sleep with you?

Are they used to having someone at home at night with them?

Do you feel more comfortable knowing your pet will have someone with them all night?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions…you would make the PERFECT overnight pet sitter candidate 🙂

 

 

A Professional Pet Sitter’s Perspective on How Many Litter Boxes You Should Have

As a pet sitter in Mesa AZ I find that generally people do not have the proper number of litter boxes in their home.  The number of litter boxes is determined by how many cats you have.  You should have 2 litter boxes for each cat.  YES!  TWO per cat.  Why?

When you have multiple cats in a household they may argue over who has the right to potty in the litter box.  If you only have one litter box for 2 cats, one cat may mark the box as theirs, leaving the other cat no where to eliminate other than your floor.  This means, if you have 6 cats you NEED 12 litter boxes.  I know cats are adorable, but you need to keep in mind how many litter boxes you need and if there is room in your home for all those boxes.  If there isn’t room in your home for another litter box, there may not be room in your home for another kitty.

Too many cats, not enough litter boxes. Cats will eliminate outside the litter box if it’s too dirty.

Cats like to have options.  So even if you only have 1 cat, you will want your cat to be able to go to the bathroom where they feel the most comfortable.

I’ll share a story with you:

A client, who is to remain nameless, has 4 cats in their household.  They have 3 litter boxes.  They have come up a little short on providing their cats with an adequate number of toilets for their cats.  Based off the estimation above, how many litter boxes should they have?  If you said 8, you are right!  So they were short by 5 litter boxes!

What was happening was, one cat would “claim” a fresh litter box as his own.  By claiming, he would urinate in the box and lay in it, making sure the other cats KNEW that box was his.  This left 2 litter boxes for 3 cats.  I’m sure you can imagine how quickly those litter boxes got dirty.  After pet sitting for a day I realized that the cats were urinating in other parts of the house because their boxes got dirty very quickly.  I lifted a litter box up to empty it and found a puddle of urine UNDER the litter box. There wasn’t a hole in the box, the cat had pee’d just outside the box.  I also found urine under a chair and coffee table.  I felt horrible that I was not able to keep up with the litter box mess.  But I was set up for failure, as the parents are also setting themselves up for failure.

Cat claiming litter box from house mates.

If they had the proper amount of litter boxes, even if a cat was claiming a box as their own, there would be plenty more for the other cats to choose from.  This would definitely stop them from urinating throughout the house.

How many cats do you have?  Do you have an adequate number of litter boxes?

All I did was run from a dog

Special effects courtesy of Rot n Wonderland

In honor of Dog Bite Prevention Week, (starting May 15th)  we are sharing reasons why people get bit by dogs and how to prevent it from happening to you.

When you see a stray dog, or if a dog is charging after you, the worst thing you can do is run.  First, you will NEVER out run a dog.  They are faster than you.  If you run, there is a big chance of you getting bit, tackled and attacked.  What you should do if you are charged or if a dog is running toward you is:

STAND LIKE A TREE

Stand still, don’t look the dog in the eye, put your hands behind your back and wait.  It will be scary, but you must wait it out.  The dog will run up to you, sniff you, maybe jump on you, but if you remain calm and still, it will eventually get bored and leave you alone.

If you get knocked down, get into the fetal position.

  1. Knees to chest

  2. Face toward the ground

  3. Interlock your fingers behind your head being sure to cover your ears and neck.

Again, eventually, the dog will get bored and leave.

Image source:  Rot N Wonderland
Special Effects by: Rot N Wonderland

How Much Does Pet Sitting Cost in Mesa, AZ

The number one question prospective clients ask when calling about pet sitting services in Mesa, AZ is, “How much does it cost?”  The answer to this question is, “It depends.” What do I mean when I say it depends?  There are several factors that pet sitters take into consideration when quoting prices.  Not all pet sitters are the same and pricing will vary depending on the following:

  1. Where you live.  Play Time Pet Care does not lower or increase prices just based off where someone lives.  However, we do have a specific area that we cover.  If you are outside our “normal” service area you may be charged a surcharge to cover time and gas to get there.  Our prices are based off a certain mileage from our sitter’s homes.  If they have to travel farther than normal they will be compensated for their time and travel.

  2. How many pets you have.  Play Time Pet Care’s pricing is all inclusive.  This means we don’t charge for the number of pets you have.  Other pet sitting companies may charge per pet after a certain number, say 3 pets.  However, if you have a large pet family, it will take more time and effort to properly care for all of them and provide high quality service.  You may pay a little more if you have a large pet family than someone who has a smaller pet family, this is to compensate for the additional work involved in caring for a lot of animals.

  3. The type of service you require.  Working with Play Time Pet Care you are able to mix and match services to your hearts content.  The cost associated with different services will vary depending on what will work best for your family.  There is a different rate for “pop in” daily visits, overnight care, live in care and dog walking.  With dog walking and recurring visits (like when you are working long hours and your pet needs a potty break or extra attention) some pet sitters will offer a small discount because the service is recurring…meaning we can count on providing that service several times a week on an ongoing basis.

  4. Medication administration.  Play Time Pet Care does not charge extra for administering medication.  Some pet sitters do.  However, if you have a pet that is particularly difficult when taking medication (aggressive or just plain stubborn), you may pay a little extra because we take our time to ensure the animal receives the medication with as little stress as possible, which may take additional staff (2 sitters for each visit).

As you can see, there are many factors that we take into consideration when quoting prices to potential clients.  Every family is unique and has different service requirements.  It is difficult to determine a price with little to no information about the particular needs of your pets.  I know “It depends” is a pretty vague answer, be patient and talk to your potential pet sitter about all facets of your pet’s needs to get the most accurate quote possible.