Tag: pet health

How To Relax on Thanksgiving – A Pet Sitter’s Guide

As a pet sitter in Mesa, AZ, I often receive last minute pet sitting requests around the holidays.  Clients sound flustered and stressed on the phone.  Excited to visit with family, that they may not have seen in years, nervous about leaving home and their pets behind, stressed that they waited till the last minute to book their pet sitting services.

In order to help relieve some of that stress, we have compiled a guide to a stress free Thanksgiving holiday.  These tips can be used whether you are staying home and entertaining or leaving to visit with friends and family in another state.

Typically a post like this will offer information about keeping your DOG safe (which we will cover later).  Let’s not forget our kitties!  Here are some tips on how to keep your cats safe and happy.

Cats

Whenever we are decorating our homes for the festive holidays, we need to keep our cats in mind.  They are able to jump to higher places and are extremely interested in things that move.

If you decorate with potted plants on tables and shelves, don’t forget that our feline friends can easily access those areas.  There are plants that are toxic to cats, like, poinsettia sap, mistletoe, lilies, daffodils and narcissi. 

Ribbons, tinsel and other string-like decorations are fun for cats and can be played with “UNDER SUPERVISION”.  However, if swallowed, these “toys” can cause intestinal blockage or cut through the intestinal wall.  Words of wisdom from our friends at Augusta Ranch Animal Hospital, “Don’t even encourage this kind of play.”

Like to include your feline friend in the mealtime feasts?  Only small amounts of lean meats…check out the suggestions by our friends at Augusta Ranch Animal Hospital.

Dogs

Mealtime may be the most common way for humans to indulge their pets during the Thanksgiving holiday season.  If you like to offer table scraps to your dog might I suggest doing so in their food dish on top of or mixed in with their regular food, NOT from the table.  Sharing table scraps from the table tells your dog it’s okay to beg, which turns into a whole other problem.  Also, a sudden change in diet that includes rich foods may cause diarrhea and vomiting.

ATTENTION COUNTER SURFERS:  If you leave an uncooked loaf of bread on the counter allowing it to rise, and your dog is a counter surfer (or has tendencies) BEWARE.  In the warmth of your dog’s stomach the bread can continue to rise causing a complete obstruction that your dog will be unable to pass.

If you are going to be gone for the holidays, my advise would be to leave the decorations in their boxes.  Your pets don’t know it’s Thanksgiving, they don’t need the additional distractions in their home while you are away.

If you are going to be home, be sure you kitty and puppy proof your home by:

Making sure the string used to tie your turkey legs is thrown away and the trash taken out.

If you want to share in mealtime, offer small amounts on top of or mixed in with your pet’s normal food.

If you save the Wishbone, be sure to put it in a place your pet can’t get to it.

No cooked bones!  They will splinter and could puncture your pet’s intestines.

 How do you include your pets during the festive Thanksgiving holiday?

Valley Fever

I can completely sympathize with families who have pets with valley fever.  My dog, Magic, has recently been diagnosed with valley fever and from first hand experience….it’s AWFUL!  My heart breaks and goes out to anyone who has had experience with valley fever or is now experiencing it.  I have several goals behind this article:

  1. Explain signs and symptoms so you can be proactive in testing for valley fever

  2. To offer some suggestions on how to keep your pet eating

  3. To let you  know that you aren’t alone

    Dogs with Valley Fever

The most common signs of Valley Fever are:

  • Coughing

  • Fever

  • Weight Loss

  • Lack of Appetite

  • Lack of Energy

The best website I have found that explains Valley Fever in dogs (and cats) is the Valley Fever Center for Excellence website.  “Two-thirds of all U.S. Valley Fever infections are contracted in Arizona. Nationally, Valley Fever is uncommon and considered an orphan disease. Yet it is so concentrated in Arizona that this state needed an advocate to promote improvements in understanding, medical care, and research about this disease. For this reason the Arizona Board of Regents approved the proposal for the creation of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona.”   This website is great for understanding Valley Fever, where it comes from, the signs and symptoms and treatment.  However, it does not discuss what pet parents can/should do if their pet is refusing to eat.  The BIGGEST and HARDEST setback I have had to overcome with my own case.

You KNOW when you have a Golden Retriever that if they stop eating, something is definitely wrong.  My scrounge hound hasn’t eaten a good solid meal in weeks.  This does not help the healing process and if he doesn’t start eating something he may need to be hospitalized, or worse, have a feeding tube surgically implanted.  It breaks my heart every day when he turns his nose up at his meals.  I’m feeding him people food for heavens sake!  A dog’s wet dream! People food being shoved down his throat and he still isn’t interested.  SO FRUSTRATING!

Dogs with Valley Fever

This is what our daily routine looks like:

Mom buys canned food to mix in with his kibble.  Yeah!  He loves it!  We’re good to go for a couple meals….then, he doesn’t want to have anything to do with it.  Now what?

Mom finds something in the fridge that may seem palatable.  Boiled chicken and rice…let’s try that.  Yeah!  He scarfs that down…for 2-3 meals then he’s done.  He wants no more of it.  Now what?

What about ground beef?  He takes a lick or two…nope. Not for him.

Let’s take a trip to the local pet store and see what we can find.  Oooh…a cooler full of fresh, natural food.  Let’s buy a tube and see what he thinks.  YES!  He loves it!  Scarfed down almost a full portion size…YAY!  Hoping he likes it at dinner time.  Yep!  We are good to go…for one more meal, then he’s done with it…wants nothing to do with it.  Now what?

Dogs with Valley Fever

Baby food?  Maybe we’ll give that a try today.

My suggestions (and I’m not a veterinarian and suggest discussing options with your vet):

  • Try different foods that are aromatic

  • Stop thinking if you switch their food often they will become picky eaters.  Remember, they are sick and really don’t want to eat, but they HAVE to eat to keep their immune system and energy levels up.

  • Try feeding at different times of the day.  Magic wouldn’t touch his food this morning, but devoured the same food this afternoon.

  • Go raw.  People food is fine to feed your dog as long as you don’t add any toxic foods or spices to it.

It can be very frustrating and heart breaking when you know your dog is sick and they refuse to eat or is suffering some other horrible side affect of Fluconazole.  Remember that you aren’t alone.  Lots of other people are going through what you are going through.  Sometimes it helps just to talk to someone that has experienced valley fever with their pets and have the reassurance that your dog will get better.  If you need some moral support, suggestions on types of food to try or would like more information on valley fever in your area give me a call.  I certainly know what you are going through!

Hots Months of Summer

Providing pet care to many households in the Mesa, AZ and surrounding areas has proven to be a challenging job in the hot months of the summer.  Not only is it hot for us humans, running from house to house with barley enough time for our cars to cool down, but the activities we love to do with our clients changes drastically because it’s too hot to have fun outside with Fluffy & Fido.  This is why we came up with some fun summertime treats to keep our 4 legged (and sometimes 3 legged) clients cool and happy.

The first treat idea combines two things most of our pets love:  ice & people food.  Now, we are huge advocates of healthy pets, so we aren’t using people food that is bad for our clients.  This treat is entirely made up of 1 can of unsalted, cut green beans.  There are two treats we get out of the 1 can:

  1. Ice cold ice cubes

  2. Frozen green bean snacks

Who’s dog doesn’t LOVE ice cubes?  My golden retriever will munch on ice cubes until his internal temperature drops to an uncomfortable level.  Needless to say, I have to be careful with the amount of ice cubes my guy gets =)

I have also found, from personal experience, that my dogs are a little finicky about what they eat.  They don’t want fresh green beans and they don’t like eating green beans straight from the can (I don’t think they enjoy the squishy texture), BUT, if I freeze the green beans, they LOVE them.  So, not only do they get a filling, crunchy snack in the afternoon, it also keeps them from grazing between meals, and doesn’t add extra unwanted calories.

So here’s how you do it:

  • Open a can of unsalted cut green beans.

  • Squeeze the liquid from the can into an ice cube tray.

  • Put a small piece of green bean in each cube.

  • Freeze!

  • Put the green beans in a container and freeze.  When you are ready to offer your dogs their treat, just remove from the freezer, break off some green beans and have fun!  Your dogs will LOVE you for it!

    Mesa Pet Sitter

Another great idea:

    • Fill a bucket with water and some of your pets favorite toys. (You could also add treats…carrots, green beans, etc.)

    • Freeze the bucket. (You can use a myriad of things to freeze the water…milk jugs, milk cartons, plastic bottles)

    • When completely frozen, remove the huge block of ice from the bucket and place outside.

Your dogs will have an exciting time licking the ice to get to their toys.

pet sitter

What fun ideas do you have to keep your pets cool and entertained in the hot summer months?

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?

How to prevent dog bites

As a Mesa pet sitter I am  provided with plenty of opportunities to educate pet parents and the general public about how to prevent dog bites when working with shy and fearful dogs. Jenna Trethewey, owner of Play Time Pet Care, says “It’s important to recognize the signs of fear and anxiety in dogs.”

Here are some obvious signs that  a dog is shy or fearful.  Some people may not recognize a dog is fearful or anxious if the dog is exhibiting signs of the slight cower.

Some other signs that aren’t so obvious to the average person that isn’t familiar with dog body language are:

Pet sitting in Mesa has given me plenty of opportunity to observe all of these behaviors. I know that just because a dog is wagging their tail it doesn’t mean it’s happy.  When we are meeting with new dogs we see these behaviors all the time.

Some behaviors that might not make sense:

Get to know dog body language.  It’s a pet parent’s responsibility to know their dog’s behaviors and keep others safe from it.  If you know your dog is food aggressive, keep kids away from their food dish.  If you know your dog is shy and fearful around new people, consult with a professional dog trainer to learn ways to help your dog feel less anxious and how to teach others how to approach, or not approach, your dog.

For more information on dog body language and bite prevention contact us at 480-292-9735 or via email at jenna@PlayTimePetCareAZ.com.

Green Cleaning For Your Pets

Have you ever thought about the cleaning products you use in your home and what affect they have on your pets?  I stopped using harsh chemicals on my floors because my dogs couldn’t stay off of them long enough for the tile to dry and they lay on the tile to cool off and now, my little man, Nugget, eats his breakfast and dinner off the floor (that’s a story for another time).

My first purchase was a steam cleaner for my tile.  The steam cleans and sanitized my tile at the same time while providing a safe environment for my dogs.  The next step was looking into Green cleaning supplies like Melaleuca, but that required purchasing a minimum amount of products every month or becoming a representative, neither of which I was interested in.  So…the next best thing?  Hiring a cleaning company that uses the products.  This is a quadruple win for me!  I hate cleaning my house, work so much that when I do have down time the last thing I want to do is clean.  I don’t have to worry about the products they are using in my home and whether they are safe for my dogs or not. I can continue working and viola…my house is clean.  Ok, that was only 3 wins…but you get my point 🙂

Who is this cleaning company that uses Green cleaning supplies, is great with my dogs and people I can trust inside my home?  Going Greenhouse, that’s who!  April and her crew showed up for my first deep clean on time, met my dogs and allowed them to follow around and “help”.  They had no issue with me leaving them inside while they did their work and actually played with them for a bit.  I did make it very clear that my dogs were a part of my family and they were not going to be sequestered outside while they did their job.  Besides, it’s way to hot out for that.

If you are looking for a great cleaning company, that uses Green products (safe for you kids and pets) I highly recommend Going Greenhouse.

How to Report Animal Abuse

In our last article, 10 Signs of Animal Abuse, we gave you the signs of animal abuse to watch for.  Now, we need to know what to do if we suspect animal abuse.

It is important to report animal abuse to your local agency because many times the only way they find out about animal cruelty is from a concerned citizen.  Without tips from the community many animals will remain in abusive situations, mute and unable to defend themselves.

You may be wondering if you can remain anonymous while reporting abuse.  The answer is YES.  It is just important that the abuse is reported.

In Arizona, you must report animal abuse to your local law enforcement agency.  If you witness or suspect an act of animal cruelty in your community, contact your local police department’s non-emergency line. On a county island, please call the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office at (602) 876-1011.

You can also contact the Arizona Humane Society online and fill out an abuse form.  You may remain anonymous in your reporting.

How to keep your home safe while you are gone

Your Mesa pet sitter offers tips on how to keep your home safe while you are on vacation.  Pet sitters at Play Time Pet Care take our jobs very seriously.  Not only are we responsible for caring for your pets as you would when you are not home we also look after your home.  We got some tips from our insurance agency so we knew what to do to make your home appear lived in even when you are not there.

Here are some questions that were asked of an ex burglar and his answers to each.

FACT: According to the Insurance Information Institute, the majority of home break-ins occur during the prime vacation months of July and August.*

Q: What’s the first thing you do to get inside?
A: “I head straight for the front door. I always knock, just in case. If you’re home, I’ll ask for directions or make up some other excuse. If you’re not, I’ll try to pick your lock. If you want me to avoid your house, make it look like someone’s home. Turn up the TV or radio. Park a car in the driveway.”

 

FACT: According to a survey of convicted burglars, 70% prefer to use the front door.**

Q: What about doors and door locks?
A: “I pick whatever takes the least time. So if I see a double lock, especially with a dead bolt, I’ll skip the house and move on to one with a single lock. A flimsy door that’s not hardwood or metal is a piece of cake to get into. I can kick the door down.”

FACT: According to the FBI, a burglary occurs every 14.6 seconds in the U.S.***

Q: If I have a sign that says “Beware of Dog,” will that stop you?
A: “That’s a giveaway that you don’t have an alarm system, so boom! I’m in. Besides, it tells me there might be a doggie door in the back of the house. I’ve gotten in that way a hundred times.”

FACT: A Rutgers University study scientifically proved that 30-40% of burglars tend to avoid homes with burglar alarm systems.****

Q: What if I come home while you’re inside?
A: “There’s an old trick. I put a bottle or broomstick on the handle of the front door. If the bottle breaks or the broom drops, I know you’ve come home.”

Q: So what do you go for first on the inside?
A: “The small, high-ticket stuff—jewelry, credit cards, keys—the grab-and-run items. I look for bank statements because they tell me about your habits, and the better I know you, the better my chances for a heist. I’m also sizing up the bigger stuff you have. When it looks like the coast is clear again, I’ll be back for the TV, computers and antiques.”

FACT: If you’ve had the misfortune of being robbed once, your chance of being robbed again is higher.†

Q: Do burglars ever hit the same house twice?
A: “You bet, especially if you don’t get your locks changed right away. When people come home after a burglary and the house is a complete wreck, the last thing they think about is their keys. People are more worried about the expensive or sentimental stuff that’s missing. I take the keys, and after a few days, I come back because odds are the locks haven’t been changed yet.”

With all that being said:

  1. Leaving the radio or tv on isn’t necessarily for your pets entertainment.  Although they may get a kick out of it, or not care at all, it may be the one thing that will save your home from being robbed.

  2. A good burglar will know how to handle a dog and will probably befriend them while they are taking your personal belongings, so lock up the dog door and have your sitter come more often.  It’s cheaper in the long run.

  3. Whether you have an alarm system or not, it’s a good idea to put an alarm companies stickers or yard signs by your front door.

Don’t make  your home an easy target!

SOURCES
* usatoday.com; iii.org
** youtube.com
*** fbi.gov
**** EzineArticles.com
† ncjrs.gov
†† crimestoppers-uk.org; fnnc.org; easier.com

Mesa Pet Sitter Provides Snout to Tail Assessments

At Play Time Pet Care our pet sitters provide snout to tail assessments (as long as the pet will allow) for our clients.  Our main objective is to ensure your pet is happy and healthy while you are away.  Part of knowing if you pet is healthy is by performing regular snout to tail assessments.

Our pet sitters are certified in Pet CPR & First Aid which offers us the knowledge and experience to manage health issues.  Mesa Pet Sitter offers Canine ReikiWe begin by getting to know your pet and allowing them to become calm enough for us to hang out on the floor with them without being clobbered with kisses and playful nudges.  Then we begin with the snout to make sure it isn’t dry and cracked, then check out their breath to ensure it isn’t stinky, we move on to the ears feeling the exterior for abnormalities and checking the interior for infection and general cleanliness.  We move down the body to check for lumps and bumps, recording the size and placement of any findings.  We’ll check the spine, legs and tail.

Of course on our very first visit we won’t know what is normal or not, so we keep the assessment in our file and on every new contracted visit we will re-evaluate to see if we notice any changes.  We alert the pet parent of any changes that we have found just to bring it to their attention.  If we happen to find an ear infection we will do our best to start cleaning the ear and let the pet parent know about it on their return so they can continue treatment until the infection is cleared up.

What a great way to ensure your pets health…by having a pet sitter that is certified in Pet CPR & First Aid take care of your pets while you are away.

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