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Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

It’s June Already, Time for Summer Fun!

    • We do more than just walk dogs, read about our other services here. 
    • if you love Pets we are always looking for responsible walkers and sitters! Adding Pet Sitters to Plano, TX  Richardson, TX Dallas, TX and Garland, TX.  You can read more about it here. If you know anyone that may be interested send them this link to Apply. Thank you!

Identify & Prevent Ear Infections in Dogs

If your dog has long floppy ears, hairy ears, loves swimming, or has allergies, then you’re probably no stranger to ear infections. One in five dogs suffers from ear problems, so they are not uncommon, and with a few simple tips, you may be able to stop them in their tracks.

These floppy-eared breeds are most vulnerable to ear problems: Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, Irish Setters, Basset Hounds, and Dachshunds. The following breeds have a lot of ear hair, so their ears don’t “air out” well: Bichon Frise, Schnauzers, and Poodles.

You should check your dog’s ears once a month, or more frequently if your pup is prone to infections. Gently look inside their ears for these signs of trouble:

  • Is there redness, swelling, or scratches?
  • Do the sniff test; do they smell funky?
  • Are they crusty?
  • Do you see any discharge?
  • Has your dog been scratching at their ears?
  • Have they been shaking their head?
  • Does your dog’s balance seem off?
  • Is their hearing decreased?

These are all common signs of an ear infection. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your pup to the vet for a look see. Many infections are caused by bacteria or yeast and will need to be treated with medication.

However, in the future the following tips will help head off ear infections before they start:

  • Check ears at least once a month.
  • Ask the vet for an ear cleaning solution and have him show you how to use it. Most vets will recommend using a cotton ball dampened with the solution and will advise you not to clean deeply in the ear or put Q-tips in the ear canal, just clean as far as you can easily see. A deep cleaning could make an infection worse.
  • After baths and swimming be sure to dry your dog’s ears thoroughly.
  • If your dog has very hairy ears ask your vet or groomer to remove some of the outer hair from them. You can buy small scissors that have blunt tips (so you don’t poke your dog – ouch) and trim the outer hair carefully yourself.
  • Diet has a lot to do with health and allergies, so feed your dog a high-quality diet. Consider adding a daily Omega-3 fatty acid supplement (made for dogs) to their diet.

With a little regular care, you and your pup can have a fun, safe summer that includes swimming.


Household Items That Make Fun Cat Toys

You’ve got the best cat toys in your home already; you just didn’t realize it. Add some zest to your cat’s day with these toys.

Boxes – Cats love boxes of all sizes. The cardboard is insulating and keeps them toasty in winter, you might find your cat napping in this toy! Toss in a few cat treats to get them going.

Newspaper – Ball it up or make a tent out of it, most cats will have a blast with it.

Leaves – Preferably fall leaves that make crackly noises. They smell like the outdoors, and they move easily.

Paper Bags – If the bag has handles on it cut them off – cats can get them around their neck and get hurt. But once those handles are off, the fun begins. Like a box, toss in a few treats to lure them in.

Empty Toilet Paper Rolls – A single roll makes for great fun; they skitter across the floor quickly. You can also cut them to different heights and fit them tightly inside one another, or glue them in a box. Hide a few treats in some of the tubes for hours of fun.

Ping Pong Balls – They roll and bounce like crazy and are too big for your cat to swallow. This is one toy that you should monitor or better yet, play along with your cat. Most cats have little interest in eating a ping pong ball but keep an eye on them just to be sure.

Yarn – A ball or a long string is a cat blast. Monitor this game too; there are always a few felines that that eat the yarn (not good). This game is way more fun when you’re helping move the yarn.

Bottle Caps – They fly across the floor, are too large to eat, and cats love this game; think cat hockey!

Without spending a dime, you’ve entertained your kitty for hours! Do you have any favorite household toys you use with your cat?


Proofing Your Training

You and Fido have been going to training classes, working privately with a trainer, or just working hard in your home. Both you and your dog are proud of the new tricks and behaviors you’ve learned, right? Maybe not. The final step in training your dog is proofing. So what is it? Proofing is practicing the trick or behavior in different situations with increasing levels of distraction.

To understand why you need to “proof” you need to think more like a dog. People generalize well; dogs do not.Here is an example of “dog think.” You’ve taught your dog to sit in your kitchen with no one else around. You think he “gets it.” But then you’re out on a walk around town, you say sit, and nothing happens. See – you’ve taught your dog to sit in the kitchen and to him, the word sit means “sit in the kitchen.” It takes dogs a little bit longer to generalize and understand that “sit” means everywhere regardless of what’s going on. In “dog think” that’ way different than sitting in a quiet kitchen.

So to help your dog “get it” in a more generalized way, you need to proof the training, which means training them in different places with more distractions. But, raise the ante slowly.

Continue to work in the kitchen but have some music on. Then have a friend or family member walk into the kitchen while you are training. When your dog has that down pat, move to another room, then in the yard, then have other people tell your buddy to sit. Do it standing next to your dog and at the end of a LONG leash. Take them to a fully fenced area and see if they will do it off leash too. Finally, try it in a city or at the dog park. If your dog hits a wall and doesn’t respond correctly, back up a few steps to reinforce the behavior. Keep training sessions short and reward correct responses with a happy voice and treats. Patience is the most important virtue when working with animals (and people too).

Remember practice makes perfect, so even if he’s got it down today, don’t assume it will last forever. Find places to train them every day, just for a minute here and a minute there. When you’re out on a walk, at the dog park, or before they get their food ask them to sit or lie down.

It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s fun for both of you, and this way your dog will have the behavior down pat when they really need it. Even better, the more you do this, the quicker your dog begins to generalize!


Great Pet Links!

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

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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

May Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Spring has Sprung!

    • Love Pets? We are now Hiring! Adding Pet Sitters to Plano, TX  Richardson, TX Dallas, TX and Garland, TX.  You can read more about it here. 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.

Collar vs. Harness

To collar or not to collar that is the question! The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no. Harnesses are gaining in popularity with more dogs wearing them every day. So, should you abandon your traditional collar? Let’s go over some pros and cons of each so you can make an informed choice.

Many dogs find a collar more comfortable; they don’t even notice that it’s on. A flat collar is a secure way to keep your pets ID tags and licenses on your dog, and they are easy to slip on and off (a pro and a con). A regular collar comes in oodles of varieties, colors, patterns, styles, and function.

But if your dog is a puller, has respiratory issues, is a toy breed, or has protruding eyes (like Pugs or French Bulldogs) then you need to consider a harness that won’t put stress on their neck and airway. Even a dog that pulls a little bit is at risk for neck injuries from a traditional collar. Ask any vet; they will tell you they see injuries from collars frequently, and some of these injuries can be severe. Also, there are a whole subset of dogs that have figured out if they back up quickly they can get out of a regular collar. So if you have an escape artist for a dog, you may want to use a harness on walks. Dogs that frighten easily can slip their collars too, and that’s just a tragedy waiting to happen.

Some dogs initially don’t like the feel of a harness but most get used to it quickly. Without any doubt, it’s a bit more complicated to get a harness on your pup. And a harness, especially if it’s not fitted correctly, can chafe. The Freedom Harness linked below has a velvet under strap for comfort.

A harness offers better control of your dog so it may be great for training or when you have your dog in a crowded area. If your dog is a leash puller or lunger a harness with a front leash clip will help diminish the pulling. However, if your dog is small or delicate a back leash clip is the way to go. Try one of the many harnesses made for pullers like an Easy Walk Harness or a Freedom No-Pull Harness. If you are you a hiker or have a very active lifestyle, check out Ruffware Harness, they are comfy, cooling, and some even have handles. For an older dog that has issues standing up, it’s easy to grab the back strap on the harness and help them up.

Lastly, if you crate your dog, most vets will recommend that they don’t have any collar or harness on when they are left alone in their crate because they can catch on the crate and trap your dog.

The fact is, many dogs have both a collar and a harness for different situations. Don’t be overwhelmed by the choices, think about your dog’s needs. We’re happy to walk your best friend with a collar or harness!


Cat Health – Chronic Kidney Problems

Sadly, kidney failure is one of the top causes of illness and death in cats, especially older felines. Almost 1 out of 3 senior cats will suffer from this disease. But with early diagnosis and proper veterinary care you can boost the quality and length of your pets life.

Kidney disease is either acute or chronic. Acute can be caused by poisons, trauma, shock, infection, or blockages. Often if diagnosed in time acute kidney issues can be reversed. Why Chronic kidney disease happens isn’t always clear; genetics, breed (like Maine Coons or Siamese), dental disease, high blood pressure, or infectious disease can damage the kidneys. Chronic kidney issues can be managed but not cured.

The best move you can make to prevent or get a handle on kidney problems is visiting the vet once or twice a year, feeding your cat wet food, making sure they get a lot of water, and ensuring they don’t put on extra weight. Look for these signs of kidney issues:

Change in potty habits
Not using the litter box
Drinking more water than usual
Weight loss
Decreased appetite
Dry coat

If your cat isn’t feeling well or exhibiting these symptoms, it’s time for a vet visit. The sooner your veterinarian gets involved the better the outlook for your cat.

Chronic kidney issues can be managed and the sooner, the better.


Dry Paw Pads and What To Do

Just like people feet our dog’s feet are vulnerable and need to be pampered to stay healthy. Not only do fido feet come in contact will all sorts of surfaces and terrain, but just like our feet, they are shock absorbers. Pup paws go through a lot of wear and tear, and if they become split, cracked, or sore, it can cause your pooch a lot of pain.

First, know this, if your best friend has chronically dry, cracked or irritated paws head to the vet, this could be a sign of allergy, nutrient deficiency, or another medical problem. If your pet has occasional foot problems, here are some causes and solutions for you.

Causes of dry pup pads:

Hot pavement or sand – Not only can hot surfaces burn our feet but our dog’s paws too. Because dogs have thick pads some people think they are immune to heat damage, but dog pads are actually quite sensitive. They can be burned in just a few seconds if it’s hot enough. Even if it’s not sizzling hot, the heat can dry your dog’s pads quickly.

Wintery conditions – Cold weather can dry pads out fast. Additionally, sidewalks and roads have salt or other chemicals on them that is very drying to your companions pads

Chemicals – Often lawns are treated with tons of chemicals – fertilizers and insecticides, all of which are bad for your dog’s feet. Sometimes even our floor clears or laundry soap can cause pad problems.

Allergic reactions – Any sort of allergy, food or environmental, can cause paw irritation or itchy feet. Many dogs will lick or chew their feet when they are itchy and this makes the paws even drier.

So what do you do if your pup’s pads are dry?

Prevention! Take precautions not to let them walk on hot surfaces, try changing your floor cleaner, and if you’ve taken a long walk, you might want to think of wiping or hosing down their feet when you’re done.

Coconut Oil is natural and safe to use on your dog. It’s known for its antibacterial and moisturizing properties. So rub some on their dry feet and give them a toy (maybe a frozen Kong) to play with so they don’t lick the oil off!

Shea Butter is very moisturizing for both people and pups. It’s an all natural product that comes from nuts on the African Shea Tree. It’s non-toxic, so if they do lick it off they won’t get sick, but the point is to try and keep it on their feet.

There are a lot of Pet Foot Balms on the market. Look for one with all natural, safe ingredients. Then give your best friend a petty-cure!


Great Pet Links!

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

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April Newsletter 2018


Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

It really is Springtime!

    • 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.

Dog Park Safety

Most dogs enjoy an off-leash romp at the park. Dogs are very social animals, and a dog park can be a fun place to take your pooch. Accidents and dog fights do happen at dog parks, but by following a few safety tips, you can lessen the chances of a bad day at the park.

Check out the park ahead of time; dogless. Try and feel the vibe, the rules, and see how busy it is. Be sure it has a double-gated entry and that the fencing is high enough to keep the dogs in. There should be separate areas for small dogs and big dogs. Check to see if it has water available and if people are watching their dogs.

Do not take a dog to a dog park that has poor social skills or is shy or nervous, that’s a recipe for disaster. Dog parks are not for puppies, and you need to go carefully with older dogs too, they are more apt to be injured.

Make sure your first few visits are during off hours, so your dog gets used to off-leash play. Be sure to watch both your dog and the others for signs of aggression. Because canine play often looks and sounds aggressive, you need to know exactly what to watch for. The second link at the end of this article goes over what play and aggression can look like.

Even the sweetest dogs can escalate during play, so after a few minutes of energetic play call your dog away and let him settle down a bit.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date.
  • No choke or prong collars, flat nylon or leather only.
  • Bring poopy bags to pick up after your buddy.
  • Remove your dog’s leash inside the park; leash aggression is common at dog parks.
  • If water isn’t available, bring your own.
  • Have treats but don’t feed other dogs unless you ask their people.
  • If a fight breaks out, do NOT get in the middle of it. Throw a coat or blanket on the fight or turn the hose on the fighters. Often an air horn will stop a dogfight (they make small airhorns, but they are still loud!)
  • Don’t bring young kids to the park and don’t play with other dogs unless you ask.
  • Remember not all dogs love a dog park, so if your dog is showing signs that they are uncomfortable, just take them home.

Try a local park after you’ve checked it out and see if your canine companion enjoys it, but watch your dog at the park just like you would watch your child.

15 Things Humans Do Wrong At Dog Parks
Playing or Fighting?
Should I Take My Dog To The Dog Park?


Easy to Make Pet Treats

We all love the idea of feeding our pets healthy food with natural ingredients, but the idea of making treats from scratch can seem daunting. Luckily, making homemade treats doesn’t get much easier than this. You know exactly what is in these treats, so they are not only fun but healthy too. As an added bonus, if you get hungry while taking your dog for a walk, you can munch on the pup treats too, if he’s willing to share!

Dog Treats

1 Cup Oat or Rice Flour
2 Ripe Mashed Bananas
1/4 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter (be sure it doesn’t have sugar or sweetener)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Peel and mash the bananas and mix them with the peanut butter. Add the flour a little at a time to the banana/peanut butter mixture and blend well. Chill the dough for 20 minutes. Roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters or in squares with a knife. Put on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool before feeding! Yum!

Cat Treats

10 oz Canned Salmon (do not drain)
1 Egg
2 Cups Oat or Rice Flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop up salmon as finely as possible, beat in an egg. Add the salmon mixture to the flour and mix until well blended. If the mix is too dry add a little water. Roll out dough on floured parchment paper and cut into small treats. Move parchment paper and treats to a baking sheet (keep treats on paper, so they don’t stick) and cook for about 20 minutes. Cool before feeding.

Both of these treats will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. These treats are both fun and healthy!


Signs of Cancer in Pets

Cancer is the number one disease-related killer of both cats and dogs, especially in our senior pets. No need to panic both cats and dogs are less plagued by this disease than people. But it’s a good idea to know what to look for and to start changing your pet’s routines now to help ward off disease.

Here are some signs to look for:

Sores that don’t heal
Abnormal discharges
Swelling that persists or continues to grow
Loss of appetite
Weight changes (up or down)
Bleeding or discharge of any body opening
Offensive odor
Persistent lameness or stiffness
Behavior changes
Change in potty habits
Evidence of painIf your pet has these symptoms, don’t panic, as they are also symptoms of other diseases. But get your pet to your vet for a thorough check-up.

Although hereditary plays a role in this illness so does lifestyle. The best cure is prevention. Make sure your pet gets yearly physical exams, feed your pet a whole food, high-quality healthy diet, keep your pet at a healthy weight, minimize vaccinations, reduce their exposure to toxins (like fertilizers on the yard), check their body once a month for unusual lumps, and be sure they get daily exercise (we can help with that!).

The sooner you address an illness, the better the chance that your best friend will be around for a long time!


Great Pet Links!

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

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Some Dog And Cat Speak Behaviors


Most animals are doggone good at “speaking human,” but what are some dog and cat speak behaviors?  If you’d like to have an even closer relationship with your best friend, learn a little animal language here.

Some Dog and Cat Speak Behaviors That You Can Easily Learn 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.

Copyright © 2018 Vital Visits Pet Sitting Service, All rights reserved.

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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.



February Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • It’s still doggone cold out there!Consider taking your pooch on a few, but shorter walks in this chilly weather. Put a sweater on smaller dogs or those with short coats!
  • 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!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Your Pet

Is your valentine handsome, athletic, with big brown eyes, and LOVES long walks on the beach? Mine too; it’s my dog! Millions of dollars each year are spent on pets for this loving holiday. And why not? 85% of pet owners say their best friends give them the unconditional love they don’t get anywhere else.

Here are a few ideas to share this holiday with your pet. 

  • Get some exercise! Explore a new neighborhood or take a hike, it’s not only healthy it’s also a great way to bond.
  • How about a new toy? Consider a toy that will give them hours of fun; like a Buster Cube or a Kong. 
  • Learn some new tricks! Training a dog or cat with treats is relatively easy. Make it fun. If your pet isn’t much into training, set aside a special playtime and spend some quality time together.
  • Snuggle on the sofa while watching your favorite movie, maybe The Aristocats, Lassie, or The Adventures of Milo and Otis!
  • Whip up a batch of homemade treats; they are easy and fun to make. 
  • Give them a massage; most pets love them.
  • Do your buddy a favor and learn pet CPR.
  • Donate to your local shelter in your pet’s name.

On the flip side, Valentine’s Day can be a hazard for your pets. Keep them away from these items.

  • Chocolate and cocoa are poisonous to many animals. If you receive them as a gift keep them locked away.
  • Many candies are also unsafe, especially sugar-free candy and gum. They contain xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to pets.
  • Did you get some flowers? Keep them away too; they can have fertilizers and insecticides on them. Some plants and flowers are toxic while others, like roses with thorns, could injure them.

Now you’re all set to have a doggone good Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day Pet Safety Tips from the ASPCA


February is National Pet Dental Month

We’ve all heard that we should be brushing our pet’s teeth, but do you know why? Not only does it keep their breath sweet but poor dental health has a daily impact on your pets overall health.

If you’ve never brushed your best friends teeth and they are in poor condition, you’ll want to have your vet professionally clean their teeth. It often requires anesthesia, but it’s well worth it to start fresh.

There are oodles of dental care products on the market for your pet, and studies have shown that a combination of brushing and hard chew toys does that best job for keeping their choppers clean. So, grab a doggy toothbrush, some flavored toothpaste, and try to brush them every day.

There are a variety of toys that can help, for example, Kong Extreme Bone, Kong Kitty Toys, Pro Action Dental Chew, or Flossy Chews Rope toys; they act like dental floss. There are also treats specifically designed to clean teeth, such as Greenies (made for both cats and dogs), Zuke’s Z-Bones Dental Chews, Merrick Fresh Kisses, or Hill’s Science Diet Canine Oral Care Chews.

Dr. Bellows, a specialist in Veterinary Dentistry, tells people when they ask how long their new puppy will live, “your pup will live 15 – 17 years if you brush their teeth daily, 11 – 13 if you don’t.”

If that doesn’t convince you to start brushing, we don’t know what will!10 Tips for Better Dog Dental Health
10 Tips for Cat Dental Health


2 Behaviors Your Cat Wants You To Understand

Is your cat drinking from everywhere other than their water bowl?  There are a few reasons your kitty may be doing this. Many cats can’t see standing water well, but they can hear and see running water. This may be why your cat drinks from a dripping faucet.

Cats are also very sensitive to the size and material of a water bowl. They won’t like it if it’s too small (hits their whiskers) or too big. Felines are also very sensitive to smell, and some plastic bowls give off a scent that your cat may not like. Additionally, instinct may be telling them that standing water isn’t safe because in the wild it’s often a breeding ground for bacteria. Lastly, if your cat eats canned or fresh food, they may get enough water in that.

So what can you do? We know of people that leave a faucet dripping, or turn it on a few times a day so their cat can drink. You could try adding flavored water (mixed with a bit of tuna fish) to their regular meal which may satisfy most of their H2O needs. There are running water pet fountains on the market; both cats and dogs love them. Cats are finicky about having a spotless water bowl, so be sure to wash it and change the water every day. If your pet’s drinking habits change suddenly, it could be a sign of illness, and you’ll want to get advice from your vet.

Why does my cat sit in high places? We know of a cat that spends most of his day on top of his people’s refrigerator, surveying the lay of the land. It’s instinctual for most cats; they are safer in the wild when not on the ground, and they love having a high vantage point. It is part of your cat’s hunting skill set to be up high, keeping an eye out for small prey (which hopefully you don’t have in the house)! Many homes are warmer near the ceiling (remember, heat rises) and what cat doesn’t like a toasty cat nap? Climbing is also an entertaining activity for a kitty. And of course, in a multi-cat household, a little height often keeps the peace.

Be sure to provide your cat with some vertical territory. Some people have shelves up near the ceiling for their cats to hang out on (they will need a way to get up there). You can buy a multi-level kitty condo, keep in mind they need to be sturdy and stable; most cats won’t enjoy a wobbly one. Felines love watching the world from a window; consider putting a shelf or cat tree at window level so they can nap and watch the world go by!

Our pet’s quirkiness is part of the joy of having them, does your cat have some interesting behaviors?


Great Pet Links!

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

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