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Are You Prepared For A Weather Emergency With Your Pet?

 

weather emergency

We are heading into that time of year where we see dark clouds forming and tornado alerts happening calling for upcoming weather emergencies.! Here we offer a list of helpful ideas that can get the ball rolling to help in a weather emergency BEFORE it happens! read more

How Do You Register A Service Dog?

 

how do you register a service dog?

How Do You Register A Service Dog?

Service dogs are dogs which assist disabled people in their day to day life, whether they be blind, hard of hearing or otherwise disabled.  Dogs are also the only recognized species as a service animal, though many animals such as miniature horses can help disabled people. Although there are many types of service dogs that perform different functions (for instance, a popular dog for the blind are golden retrievers but smaller dog breeds such as cocker spaniels work well with deaf handlers) almost any dog can become a service dog with the right training. Nowadays a lot of service dogs are rescues from shelters, a welcome sign for the large number of dogs placed in shelters every day. read more

March Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

It’s almost Spring, good weather ahead!

    • Now Hiring! Adding Pet Sitters to Plano, TX  Richardson, TX Dallas, TX and Garland, TX.  If you know anyone that may be interested send them this link to Apply. Thank you!
  • See some of our pet clients in action on our video page.
 

Wag More, Bark Less

It’s a fact of life, dogs bark. It’s an entirely normal and natural behavior, and it’s fun. But if your dog is an excessive barker, it can be annoying to you and your neighbors. To figure out how to quiet the barking you need to understand why your dog is barking.

Most dogs bark when they are playing, defending their territory, bored and want attention, or anxious. A few dogs are enthusiastic barkers, meaning they just like to hear their own voice.

It’s not always an easy behavior to stop, but if you can figure out why your dog is barking, you’re halfway to a fix.

If your dog is a territorial barker, then you’ll be ahead of the game to remove the triggers that cause barking. Often it’s people approaching your home or even walking by outside. Close the blinds so your pooch can’t see anyone outdoors. Put on some white noise (link at end) which is relaxing to dogs and may distract them a bit.

If you have an enthusiastic barker, you’ll be well served to teach them to bark and be quiet on command. It’s not difficult, but it does take some training time, which should be fun for both you and your dog. See the link at the end of this article for instructions.

An anxious dog needs some special attention. They may bark every time you leave the house because they have separation anxiety. Leave on a radio or TV for your best friend, take a Kong toy and fill it with peanut butter or wet dog food and freeze it. Give it to your dog before you leave because for many dogs a frozen Kong is distracting for hours. Have you tried a Thunder Shirt for your nervous dog?  Many dog owners swear by them. Think about investing in a 2-way Pet Cube so you can watch and talk to your dog when you’re not there (they also dispense treats).

If your dog is bored – and this is the number one cause of barking – try some of the same ideas for anxious dogs above. Studies show that Reggae and Classical music seem to be the most relaxing for canines. Give them a wide variety of toys to play with and rotate them every few weeks, so they look new to your pup. Another critical element for a bored barker is breaking up their day, so they can have some fun!

We can help with your barker. Your dog needs exercise and stimulation, and we can help you provide it. Schedule a dog walk for your pooch; we’ll be sure they get a lot of attention. On your day off take your dog for a hike or throw a ball for them long enough to tire them out.

Let’s figure out why your dog is barking and start working on a fix. Quiet times ahead!

Teach Your Dog to Bark and Hush on Command

Pet Cube Camera (they also have one that tosses a treat)

Simply Noise – white noise that calms your dog

 

Clear out the Shelters!

March 23 is National Puppy Day, and springtime is the most popular time for people to bring home a new pet. Before you do, think about acquiring a pet from your local shelter. Here are some good reasons:

You’ll save a life (or two). Sadly almost 3 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized every single year in the USA because too few people consider a shelter pet.

You’ll get a magnificent animal. Shelters are filled with cute, happy pets waiting for you to take them home. Most are used to living with a family and are housebroken. Shelters evaluate their pets and work on training while the pets are in residence at the shelter.

It’s a great way to help shut down puppy mills. If you buy a dog or cat from a store, online, or flea market, you’re almost certainly supporting a puppy mill. Just say no.

Spread the word; you can change the plight of other shelter animals. Tell everyone that your wonderful pet came from a shelter and you’ll be spreading the good news about shelter pets. Take selfies of you and your shelter dog or cat and post them online!

You’ll pay less. Adoption fees are much less than buying a purebred dog from a breeder (after all, they are in business to make a profit).

You’ll be adopting a pet that has received proper care. Shelter pets are spayed or neutered, have their shots, and go through medical and personality screenings.

Please, before you get a new pet, visit your local shelter. They have all sorts of animals, big and small, young and old. And they are all just waiting to give you a hug.

 

A Few Myths About Pet Food

The best foods are those by veterinarians – False. Although they are sold in vet’s offices and may benefit some animals with health issues, for the average pet, the ingredients in these foods tell a different story. Most have high amounts of grain or grain by-products as protein sources instead of real meat. Grain by-products are a cheap source of protein, which is why they are often used. When choosing food for your pet, look for the top ingredient to be meat or meat meal. If your vet recommends food for a health issue for your pet, discuss this diet with them carefully.

Table scraps and other people foods are bad for your dog or cat – False.Healthy leftovers are great treats for your dog or cat, just choose wisely. Consider plain cooked meat (not fat), steamed veggies like beans, carrots, or sweet potato. Most dogs love certain fruits, like apple, pear, or blueberries and they make great low-calorie treats. Cats enjoy cooked fish and eggs too.

It’s okay for dogs and cats to eat each other’s food – False. Your pets have different dietary requirements and should have their own food. Cat food has higher levels of protein, fat, and taurine. This isn’t what dogs need. Cats that eat dog food are at high risk for weight gain (more carbohydrates in dog food) and can develop nutritional deficiencies. Dogs that eat cat food risk weight gain (extra fat in cat food) and even pancreatitis. No need to panic if it happens occasionally, but they do need their own cuisines.

High protein diets cause kidney failure – False. Dogs (along with cats & people) need protein, and if you don’t get enough, you take it from your muscles (not good). So protein doesn’t cause kidney failure. The jury is out for pets that already have kidney issues. Even pets with kidney problems need protein but less of it, and it’s better to choose proteins with high biologic value, like eggs, milk (plain yogurt), low-fat cheese (0% fat cottage cheese), and fish.

Pets don’t need grain – Kind of False.Dogs and cats in the wild actually eat grains in the animals they hunt (mice, rabbits, etc.). Most dogs can digest them with no problems. Cats, on the other hand, are carnivores and don’t need grains at all. Many people think that grains cause allergies in their dogs. This may be true for some dogs, but the # 1 allergin for dogs is beef, and the #2 is dairy. Of course, your pet may not have allergies, so don’t panic if your high-quality pet food has some grain in it.

People Food Your Dog Can And Can’t Eat

People Food Your Cat Can Eat

 

Great Pet Links!

Here are some interesting pet articles, pictures, and videos we’ve found on the net this month.

 
 
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Does Your Pet Fear Vet Visits Five Tips That Can Help

 

remove fear of vet visitsDoes Your Pet Fear Vet Visits

Does your dog or cat hide when you mention the words vet visits, or when you grab their carrier?  You’re not alone! According to a Bayer Veterinary Study, 37% of dog owners and 58% of cat owners say their pets hate going to see their veterinarian.  

The very best way to have pleasant vet visits is to start them off on the right paw when they are puppies and kittens. Let’s face it; it’s a stressful environment. They get put in the car or a crate and driven to a funny smelling building filled with strangers and a lot of commotion. They have people they don’t know poking them, holding them down, and sometimes doing things that hurt. It’s no wonder your pets (and you) are stressed out.

Believe it or not, you might be adding to their stress from the get-go. Do you rush home from work, grab your pet, and dash to the appointment? With a fearful pet, this sets them up for failure. Here are a few tips to have a relaxing visit.

If your pet hates car rides, it may be because all the rides are to places that cause stress (vet, groomer). Help them by taking fun, short car trips that involve treats and a playtime. Take your dog on a ride to the beach or the woods for a hike.

A cat can just go for a “no reason” ride. Make them short, offer treats, and give them a lot of love. Once home, let them relax. Do this frequently, so they start to connect car trips with something other than stress-makers.

Now that you’re taking your pet on car rides, occasionally stop at your vet’s office for a “hello” visit. My vet welcomes these visits. The staff at my vet’s office love to see us stop in for a hug and a treat. They know that these visits ultimately make their job easier.

  1. Try booking early morning visits. Most offices are less hectic in the morning, they aren’t behind, there may be less commotion, and a shorter wait to upset your pet. Leave with plenty of time to get to the appointment. Avoid rushing; that stresses you out, and your pet reads your stress like a book – it upsets them. So leave early, turn on some classical music (it’s been proven to relax animals and humans), and have a peaceful ride.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  2. Many vet offices now have “species-specific” waiting areas, these dog or cat-only waiting areas are helpful. If your dog is high anxiety, you might try a Thundershirt or wait outside with your pet.                                                                                                                                                                       
  3. Once you get in the exam room, don’t act differently than you normally do. I remember one of my very first visits to the dentist; my mom said, “don’t worry it won’t hurt at all” and I knew right then, it was going to hurt. So don’t tighten up on your dog’s leash, don’t talk in a different tone of voice, don’t pet them or hug them any more than you normally would. Just let them sniff around the room and give them an occasional treat.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
  4. Many vets will examine pets on the floor because those high exam tables can be scary. Make sure everyone (this means you) keeps their body language calm and relaxed. My vet gives treats throughout the entire visit, from the minute we walk thru the door until we leave. Now my dog loves his vet and the entire staff.                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  5. Many vets are now part of or practice the Fear Free program; a certification that helps make vet visits fun. They can help you and your dog have a stress free visit. 

 

Find a Fear Free vet in your area.
Are you adding to the fear? Take this quiz.
More tips for Vet visits.

  

 

November Newsletter 2017

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Thanksgiving is on the horizon!

    • Now Hiring Pet Sitters, Dog Walkers and Overnight Pet Sitters For weekly and weekend work! If you know anyone that may be interested send them this link to Apply. Thank you!
  • Book your holiday vacations now!
 

Thanksgiving Pet Safety

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and pets but it comes with some dangers for our best friends. It’s a good time to review the basics.

  • People will be going in and out of your home so be certain your pet doesn’t escape. Have their ID tags up-to-date and be sure they are microchipped.
  • Keep the people food away from your pet. A lot of holiday food is fatty (butter, bacon, gravy) and can make your dog or cat ill. Fatty food can cause pancreatitis up to 4 days after they ingest it. Pancreatitis is very serious and can be fatal.
  • Supervise kids around your pets. Nobody likes tail pulling!
  • Don’t leave the trash unattended or open.
  • Review the foods that are poisonous to dogs and cats. For example raisins, currants, grapes, chocolate, and xylitol (see link at the end of article).
  • Don’t feed your pets any desserts.

Include your pets in the festivities with these ideas:

  • Take a walk or two with guests and your dog. It’s a holiday loaded with calories, walking will help burn them off.
  • Enlist your guests to play a few indoor games with your cat. Toss a ball in the backyard for your dog.
  • If you want to share pieces of your meal, try plain turkey, a bit of sweet potato, carrots, or green beans mixed in with their regular dinner. Best with no seasonings.

Here’s to a pawsitively perfect Thanksgiving for every one of your guests!Here is a bit more info:

Foods That are Poison to Animals
Thanksgiving Pet Safety

 

Uh-oh, Incoming Unknown Dog!

Being approached by a loose dog, especially when yours is on a leash, can be a nerve-wracking experience. Every situation is different, and each requires an on the spot risk assessment. Here are a few tips that might help with the next roaming dog you encounter:

  • Avoid the situation. If you know of specific homes that often let their dogs wander, walk a different route.
  • Loosen up on your dog’s leash. This sounds counterproductive but a tight leash telegraphs to both dogs you’re nervous, and it will make them nervous.
  • Hang a U-ie. If you see an unattended dog down the street casually do a U-turn with your dog. Try and get a barrier between you and the approaching dog: a parked car, a fence, go up on a porch or inside a business.
  • Use treats. Food will help keep your dog focused on you instead of the loose dog.
  • Try calming signals. Dogs see these “signals” as conflict avoidance: avoiding eye contact, yawning, and lip licking. Keeping your dog calm will go a long way in keeping the approaching dog calm.
  • Be assertive. Try saying no, go home, or sit. Hold your hand out in the universal stop symbol. Turn sideways to the approaching dog. If you’re terrified, call 911.
  • An umbrella scares many dogs and physically helps keep them away from you and your dog.
  • Treat tossing. Take a handful of treats and toss them at the dog coming at you.
  • Air horn. If a dog is intent on attacking this won’t stop them, but if it’s just a curious dog, it might work. They sell pocket-sized air horns, and they honk quite loudly. This may cause the loose dog to turn tail and run the other way.
  • Walking stick. The goal with a stick isn’t to harm the other dog but to intimidate it. Slap the stick on the ground or whirl it through the air. Some dogs may see this as a challenge so make this a last resort.
  • Deterrent spray. Mace or pepper spray has a large drift area, so it’s actually easy to end up getting the spray on yourself, so use them as a last resort. Citronella-based sprays work well too.

Remain calm and avoid routes where you know there are loose dogs out.

 

Fun Pet Holidays in November

Adopt a Senior Pet Month
Pet Diabetes Month
Manatee Awareness Month

November 1 – National Cook for Your Pet Day
November 5-11 Bird Health Awareness Week
November 17 – National Take a Hike Day
November 23 – Thanksgiving

 

Night-time Meowing!

Is your cat waking up the entire neighborhood every night with their vocalizations? This cat behavior is unfortunately common, especially in older cats.

Step number one is to be sure there isn’t a medical problem, so next time you visit your vet talk to them about the meowing, especially if the meowing occurs at all times of the day. Your cat may be in some pain or discomfort. Sometimes older cats meow loudly because their hearing isn’t as acute as it once was. If your cat gets a clean bill of health then try these suggestions:

  • Your cat’s internal hunting clock needs to be reset. Start feeding your cat later in the evening (try just before bed) and see if that makes a difference.
  • If your cat is hungry, you can purchase a timed feeder that dispenses food a few times each night.
  • Don’t get in the habit of feeding your cat when they demand it; they might be meowing to wake you up for a snack.
  • Make sure your cat has water at all times.
  • Although cats sleep a lot they need periods of high activity so maybe your cat is bored. Give them a few intense play times during the day and try and keep them awake more often.
  • Your kitty may be lonely or insecure. Often if they can access your room, they will feel safer, and the meowing will stop.
  • It could be hormones! Make sure your cat is spayed or neutered.
  • Sometimes adding a playmate helps, consider a second cat.

Let’s hope these suggestions result in a good nights rest for everyone. Earplugs may be a last resort!

 

Great Pet Links!

Here are some interesting pet articles, pictures, and videos we’ve found on the net this month.

 
 
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July Newsletter 2017

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

The Heat is On! 

  • Late Summer or Fall Vacations? Schedule them nowWe fill up quickly!
  • See some pet videos on our website; our clients are so cute! Click here to see them.
  • All Inclusive visits! Did you know that our visits to your pet are one price? We don’t charge you extra if your pet needs medication, or if the visit runs a bit longer. No surprise charges on your bill, our goal is to keep your pet happy and healthy!
  • Don’t leave your pets in a hot car, here you can see how quickly your vehicle heats up.
  • Existing clients can log-in here.
  • New clients can learn more about us and register here.
 

Summertime Itching & Scratching Blues!

A scratching dog is no fun; you know your best friend is uncomfortable, and every time you hear the jingling of his tags as he scratches, you cringe. Let’s get your dog feeling good again.

Keep in mind that itching is a symptom, not a disease. Unfortunately, there is no magic cure; it may take a bit of detective work to figure out why your dog is itchy. 

There are two separate causes of excessive scratching, the skin itself and allergies. Allergies can be environmental, seasonal, or caused by fleas.

The first and easiest step is to determine if your dog has fleas. If so, time for a flea treatment. If not, part their fur and look at the skin in various spots on their body. Is the skin dry, infected, cracked, or red?  If the answer is yes, schedule a vet visit so they can help determine what is going on with your best friend.

But in the meantime, these tips will help soothe your pet’s itching.

  • A high-quality diet.
  • Healthy oils in their diet (Omega-3).
  • Consider probiotics for a healthy gut and a healthy dog.
  • Allergies Rx – ask the vet about antihistamines – Zyrtec and Benadryl. Consider allergy testing.
  • Bathe with a nondrying shampoo like Oatmeal.
  • Some people swear by plain yogurt or coconut oil, just try a little in their meals.
  • Epsom salt mixed with water and soak itchy spot (or rinse them with it).
  • Ocean water helps a lot of itching problems.
  • Witch Hazel can help with itching; it’s 100% natural. Soak a cloth or cotton ball and rub on the itchy areas of your dog.
  • Baking Soda has anti-inflammatory properties. Mix a tablespoon with water and make a paste, then put it on the itchy areas or 2 T in 8 ounces of water and spray it on.

With the help of your vet, allergy testing, and these tips you’ll soon have an itch-free dog!

 

Thinking About Getting a Bird?

Think hard before you buy.

Did you know that there are a LOT of birds available for adoption? That’s the best way to go, rescue!  Birds live a long time; many go into rescue and neverget adopted. So please check your local shelter, vet, Petfinder.com, or Rescueme.org. And consider opening your home to a lonely bird.

As a matter of fact, think about adopting more than one bird. Birds are flock animals and very social; they do far better with a friend.

Read everything you can about the type of bird you’re going to adopt. Birds are highly intelligent and friendly pets. Although they don’t take up much room and are relatively low maintenance, they need attention so be sure you can commit to that.

Be prepared to offer them as much “out of cage time as possible; this will mean bird-proofing your home. When birds are loose, they need to be supervised because they like to chew: wires, cords, walls, even furniture. Be sure the windows are closed; some birds are escape artists. Keep your birds away from your other pets until you are sure they get along.

Speaking of cages, provide your bird(s) with the largest cage you can afford and accommodate. A bird cage can never be too big.

Feed your bird a healthy diet. This might come as a surprise to you, but your bird should eat very little seed. Most birds do best on a diet of high quality, organic pellets, fresh fruits, veggies, and some grain. Study your bird’s diet and talk to your vet about feeding; use only high-quality food.

Find a board certified avian veterinarian because many dog and cat vets do not treat birds. It’s not always easy to find someone certified in avian medicine, but it will make all the difference in your bird’s health.

If you’ve looked into birds and are ready to welcome one in your home, you won’t regret it. They are very loyal, smart, and entertaining pets.

 

Fun Pet Holidays in July

Adopt a Rescue Rabbit Month

July 4 – Fun Day For People, FURightenting Day For Pets
(see Pet Reads section below for help)

July 11 – Cow Appreciation Day
July 14 – Shark Awareness Day
July 15 – Pet Fire Safety Day
July 31 – National Mutt Day

 

The 5 Serious and Sneaky Cat Diseases

I know us “cat lovers” give our kitties high-quality food, preventative care, a safe and loving home, and lots of attention, and exercise. But did you know there are five health issues that can sneak up on cats, even when you give them the best of care? On your next vet visit ask your vet to check for these silent health issues.

  1. On the top of the list is chronic kidney disease. If caught early this illness can be managed well with low protein diets, medications, and more water intake. There are signs to look for; excessive drinking and urination, weight loss, large clumps in the litter box, bad breath, lethargy, and weight loss.
  2. Diabetes is another sneaky illness. Many cats are overweight which puts them at greater risk for diabetes. It’s another disease that if caught early can be managed fairly well with insulin and diet changes. You will need to monitor your cat’s glucose levels and make more vet visits. Look for frequent thirst and urination, decrease or increase in appetite, funny smelling breath, and possibly vomiting.
  3. Hyperthyroidism is another silent disease that is often seen in middle-aged or senior cats. Again, the signs are similar to the other to illnesses. Excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, weight loss, and eventually a ravenous appetite. Treatment for hyperthyroidism is very effective with medication and a special diet.
  4. Heart disease is often hard to diagnose in cats; they don’t typically get a heart mummer like dogs (and people) do. So look for these signs: racing heart rate, passing out, blue gums, increased respiratory rate, open mouth breathing, and cold or paralyzed hind limbs. The long-term outlook for heart disease isn’t great for our animals. Your vet will probably medicate your cat; heart disease is progressive, there is no cure for it.
  5. Lastly, cancer is another quiet killer. Just like people, as animals live longer we see more cases of cancer. The most common type of cat cancer is gastrointestinal cancers. Look for these cancer signs: weight loss, loss of appetite, weakness, hiding, vomiting, and bloating. The earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better the outcome. 

Let’s keep a close eye on our cat companions so they can live longer healthier lives and avoid these sneaky diseases.

 

Pet Reads!

Here are some interesting pet articles, pictures, and videos We’ve found on the net this month. Enjoy!

Fourth of July Links

And two other fun links:

 
 
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Remove Fear From Vet Visits

Fear Free

Does your dog or cat hide when you mention the words vet visitYou’re not alone! According to a Bayer Veterinary Study, 37% of dog owners and 58% of cat owners say their pets hate going to see their veterinarian.

The very best way to have pleasant vet visits is to start them off on the right paw when they are puppies and kittens. Let’s face it; it’s a stressful environment. They get put in the car or a crate and driven to a funny smelling building filled with strangers and a lot of commotion. They have people they don’t know poking them, holding them down, and sometimes doing things that hurt. It’s no wonder your pets (and you) are stressed out.

Believe it or not, you might be adding to their stress from the get-go. Do you rush home from work, grab your pet, and dash to the appointment? With a fearful pet, this sets them up for failure. Here are a few tips to have a relaxing visit.

If your pet hates car rides, it may be because all the rides are to places that cause stress (vet, groomer). Help them by taking fun, short car trips that involve treats and a playtime. Take your dog on a ride to the beach or the woods for a hike. A cat can just go for a “no reason” ride. Make them short, offer treats, and give them a lot of love. Once home, let them relax. Do this frequently, so they start to connect car trips with something other than stress-makers.

Hiring a Professional Pet Sitter – Richardson Tx

Hiring A Professional Pet Sitter

There are many schools of thought on what to look for before you hire a pet sitter. Does your pet sitter have a backup person when they become ill?  Does your pet sitter have an Inclement Weather clause?   How will your pets be cared for? Does the pet sitter have experience? Or, is the person a ‘Hobby Sitter’?   Below is a list written  by a PSI member on what to look for before you hire a pet care provider. read more

Did You Loose Your Cat Today? – Richardson Pet Sitter – Why We Won’t Visit Your Cat Every Other Day

Vital Visits Cares

 A new client asked me today “Why won’t you just visit my cat every other day?”

Great question, Right!  It can make perfect sense to visit your cat every 2 or 3 days.  You know, you’re going out of town for that much needed trip away, and you’d think this may be a good idea, but being aware of hazards that can happen is our business, so….. read more

Hot Cars And Your Dog

hot cars and your dog

Being mindful of the temperature inside your car and to never leave your dog in the car when it is hot outside is pounded into our head over and over in the summer, but what about spring time?

The internal temperature of your vehicle can rise to devastating rates within a matter of a few minutes.  There have been countless instances where dogs have passed away due to their owners leaving them in a car in the heat. read more