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October Newsletter 2017

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

It is officially Fall! 

  • 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!
  • If you have Fall vacations or weekend trips planned, please schedule them as soon as you can.  It’s not too early to think about Thanksgiving!
 

6 Important Pet Tips for Halloween

It’s that fun and spooky time of year again: Halloween. Most kids rate this holiday as their very favorite one. Pets…. not so much. Many of them find it just plain scary! Here are a few tips to help your pets through it.

  1. Candy is not for dogs or cats, especially chocolate or candy with xylitol both of which can be deadly. Stick with dog and cat treats.
  2. Keep your pets away from the door. With it opening and closing all evening it’s a good way for a pet to escape. For some pets, the costumes, kids, and noise will make them very anxious.
  3. Don’t leave your pets outside. Sadly there have been many times where “pranksters” have let dogs out, teased them, or even hurt them. The same is true with cats, especially black ones.
  4. Don’t keep lit pumpkins and candles around pets. Pets are inquisitive and could get a nasty burn.
  5. Be sure your pets have a collar and ID tag just in case they get out.
  6. Do not dress your pet up unless they absolutely love this activity. Most don’t.

It’s best to keep your pet in a quiet room with the door closed until all the action is over that way everyone has a safe and fun holiday!

 

Nail Trimming, Important or Not?

I’ve never met anyone that loves nail trimming. Not me, not my dog, or even my vet tech. But believe it or not, nail trimming is essential to your pet’s health.  

As you know, your pet’s nails grow continuously. If your dog or cat were in the wild, they would naturally wear them down with their movements, digging, and changing environments. Since domesticated animals spend a lot of time snoozing and not foraging for food, they need us to trim their nails.

Long nails not only look unattractive but they can be painful if your pet jumps on you. Over time they can do some damage to your pet too, especially their posture. Long nails force a dog’s weight to be on the rear part of their pads – not evenly distributed as it should be. This is especially important for senior dogs. If their nails touch the floor when they walk it puts pressure on the nail bed and the toe joint which can be painful. These issues can change the joints in their forelegs and over time cause all sorts of joint and tendon issues.

The longer the nail, the more likely they are to split or tear, which is very uncomfortable for your pet. In extreme cases, neglected nails can curve and grow into their footpad. If a pets nails are neglected, it’s best to have a vet treat them. 

This same information applies to cats. If your cat is a kneader, having shorter nails is more comfy for you when they are kneading! Without the sharp pointed claws, they are less likely to shred your furniture too. A cat’s claws can tear and split, and this hurts!

The rule of thumb is if your dog’s nails touch the floor when he’s standing, they are too long, and it’s time to start clipping.

Clipping is easy, and your dog may learn to enjoy a spa day! Be sure to give them a few cookies after their “peticure.”

How to Trim Your Cat’s Nails
How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

 

Fun Pet Holidays in October

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
National Pet Wellness Month

October 1 – National Black Dog Day
October 16 – National Feral Cat Day
October 27 – National Pit Bull Awareness Day
October 30 – National Black Cat Day

 

Guinea Pigs Make Great Pets!

Your local animal shelter probably has a few Cavia Porcellus (that’s Guinea Pig in Latin) available for adoption. Sadly they often end up in shelters; this is mystifying because they make fun pets. Most shelters tell us that their first owner thought they would be a “carefree animal.” Education is always important; no pet is carefree!

But if you think a Cavy might be a fun addition to your household, you’re right. These little guys are sweet-tempered and affectionate. They are 10 inches long and weigh a couple of pounds. One of the cutest things about Cavies are their coats; they come with long and short fur and in a wide variety of colors. 

Before you decided on adding a Guinea Pig to your family here are a few things to know. 

  • They are very social animals and do well if you get two of them (be sure they are the same sex, or you will have a LOT of Cavy’s).
  • They live between 5 – 10 years.
  • They like a big cage to roam around in (it’s easy to build one and a great project for your family).
  • Although they are quiet animals, they do vocalize, with purrs, cooing, chirping, and squeals.
  • They require daily handling and almost never nip.
  • They make great family pets but not for very young children. They could be injured if dropped.
  • They need hay at all times.
  • Their teeth never stop growing, so they need chew objects to wear them down (available online and at pet stores).
  • They need their cages cleaned regularly.
  • They love grooming.
  • They “popcorn” which is an adorable behavior where they run, bounce, and jump in the air. Popcorning is a sign of a happy Guinea Pig!

If all this sounds manageable and fun, head on down to your local shelter and find a new Cavy friend (or two). 

A variety of Guinea Pig care articles from the Humane Society
A variety of homemade Cavy cages.

 

Great Pet Links!

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

 
 
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September Newsletter 2017

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

See you in September! 

  • If you have Fall vacations or weekend trips planned, please schedule them as soon as you can.  It’s not too early to think about Thanksgiving!
  • Check out some of our testimonials, they are great, thanks! Read them here.
  • 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!
  • Existing clients can log-in here.
  • New clients can learn more about us and register here.
 

Lost and Hopefully Found!

Just the idea of losing my dog is enough to give me nightmares. No matter how careful you are, it CAN happen to you. Someone leaves the gate unlatched, your dog jumps out of the car, or your best friend slips their collar. However it happens, it’s absolutely heart stopping. Thinking about this horrible event ahead of time and having a plan, will help you get your dog home faster.

Before you get in this situation here are a few “ahead of time” tips:

  • Have your dog microchipped.
  • Make sure your dog has up-to-date ID tags.
  • Train your dog for 100% recall (or close). I know of a rescue dog that had a few names, so he didn’t always come when his name was called. His family started training him to come when they said excitedly, “treat.” They practiced this for about 3 minutes almost every day, and the treat they gave was always a delicious one, like real chicken or steak. Because of this training, this dog’s “treat” recall is about 99.9%.
  • Keep up to date pictures of your dog, face and side view.

If your dog does get away act fast, do not wait hoping your pet will find its way home. Here is a list of things to do ASAP.

  • Rally the Troops – get everyone you know to help you with flyers, social media, and walking the area.
  • Flyers – make up LOST DOG flyers with a picture of your pet on the top. Take them everywhere. Put them on phone poles, take them to every store, library, businesses, pet stores, vet’s office, any place you can find. Get a LOT of them made; take tape and pushpins with you. Make smaller cards and pass them out, put them on cars, drop them off at area homes. Call out for your dog while you drop off flyers since many lost dogs just can’t find their way home.
  • Call – the company that did your dogs microchip, so they are aware your pup is lost and be sure they have your correct contact information.
  • Shelters – go to every shelter you can find according to the ASPCA in a 60-mile radius. Leave or email your flyer with them and call them all, every day.
  • Animal Control – call the Animal Control officer in your town and in all neighboring towns, daily.
  • Veterinarians – many people take found pets to their vet’s office, call all the local vets.
  • Advertise – in your local paper immediately; most papers don’t charge you for lost pet ads. Keep those ads up. You should read the “Found Animal” ads every day.
  • Social Media – this is important so don’t neglect it, I’ve seen a LOT of dogs go home again after the word went out on social media. Post on Facebook and Twitter every day. Many towns and communities have their own Facebook and lost animal groups, check to see if your area does. 
  • Look – in places your dog could get stuck, the basement or under an old vehicle. 
  • Craigslist – but be aware of scams, people may call you and pretend like they have found your dog. They will want money up front. Don’t pay it; it’s a trick.
  • Radio – Call local radio stations; they do free lost dog ads too.

Put your pet’s info on these websites:

Keep the faith, man the phones, and hopefully you’ll find your best friend sooner rather than later.

 

5 Reasons NOT to Free Feed Your Dog

Many people free feed their cats but let’s face it, dogs and cats are different! Free Feeding (having food always available) is easy, but it’s not in the best interest of your dog. Here are some reasons to have set meal times:

  • Regular meals help maintain potty habits. Having an eating schedule usually sets your dog up for a potty schedule. A bathroom plan makes it easier to house break a dog and to keep them trained.
  • Appetite is a significant health indicator. If your dog stops eating there may be a problem.
  • Meals present training opportunities. Use feeding time to teach them “come” and “wait” and how to calm down. Mealtime training is particularly useful for multi-pet households.
  • Left out food is a good way to invite unwanted pests indoors, like ants and mice! 
  • If you free feed all your pets it’s impossible to monitor how much each animal is eating.

Have set meal times and fill in with some treats and training during the day!

 

Fun Pet Holidays in September

Happy Healthy Cat Month
AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Month
National Guide Dog Month

September 1 – Ginger Cat Appreciation Day
September 13 – Hug Your Hound Day
September 19 – Puppy Mill Awareness Day
September 24 – Deaf Pet Awareness Week
September 28 – World Rabies Day

 

Deaf Pets!

Deaf dogs and cats tend to have an entirely normal quality of life; they cope by using their other senses. Pets can be born deaf or lose their hearing due to medical issues. Training a deaf pet may seem daunting at first, but it is just a different set of challenges that both pet and person need to overcome.

With any deaf pet, the first issue is always safety. They can’t hear danger signals, so it’s essential that they not be allowed outside by themselves. Deaf pets are easily startled so walk “hard” when you approach them so they can feel the vibrations.

Training a deaf pet can be fun, and it will not only teach your pet new behaviors, but I bet you’ll learn new things too. You’ll learn more patience, how to read your pet, you’ll be more tuned into the environment, and you’ll most likely develop a very deep bond, especially with a deaf dog. They will learn to accept you as the leader who protects them and gives them direction.

I won’t go into specifics on training your deaf pet, but I have included some links below. Just know that it isn’t any more difficult than training a hearing pet, it’s just different. So don’t let the word “deaf” scare you, both you and your deaf pet will have fun getting to know hand signals and bonding.

If you are adopting from the shelter, don’t automatically turn away from a deaf pet, they are very loving!

Training and Teaching a Deaf Cat
Living with a Deaf Cat
This is a great document about deaf cats

Training Deaf Dogs
AKC on Training a Deaf Dog

 

Pet Reads!

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

 
 
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August Newsletter 2017

 

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Hot Dog, it’s August! 

  • Have late Summer or Fall trips planned? Schedule them as soon as you can.  It’s not too early to think about Thanksgiving!
  • Read our blog article, How to Check and Clean Your Cat’s Ears.
  • 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!
  • Existing clients can log-in here.
  • New clients can learn more about us and register here.
 

Summer in the City (or country)!

It’s summertime, and it’s a hot one. Everyone knows that hot weather can be dangerous; people get heat stroke and hyperthermia every summer. So, “keep your cool” this summer!

Don’t forget about our pets since our dogs and cats are wearing fur coats! Here are some tips to keep us all “chill” this summer.

  • Hydrate – Keep plenty of water around for your pet. Make sure it’s fresh, cool, and in the shade.
  • Sunbathing – Dogs and cats love to sunbathe. However, too much time in the sun can cause heat stroke and skin cancer (yes, even with all that fur). Be sure there are shady areas for your pet to relax in.
  • Hot Cars – We know NOT to leave our pets in the car with the windows up, but even a car with the windows partly down can heat up to a deadly temperature quickly. It is NEVER safe to leave your pet in a hot car.
  • Pups and Seniors – Pets, both young and old, are far more susceptible to the heat. Look for signs of distress; heavy panting and trouble breathing are the two most likely indicators that they are overheating.
  • Hot surfaces – Pets don’t often complain, but a hot parking lot, sidewalk, or boiling beach sand can get them in trouble. Not only can it burn their foot pads but it can quickly raise their body temperature.
  • Soaking – A hard plastic child’s pool with a few inches of water in it will cool off your pet.
  • Ice – Some dogs and cats love ice cubes in their water or to play with, if yours does give them some (in moderation) during the day, it’s fun, cooling, and it ups their hydration.
  • Exercise – Only take your dog out for exercise early in the morning or late in the day. Watch them carefully; they don’t always know when to stop.
  • Treats! – Buy or make some frozen treats for your dog; it will keep them quietly busy and cool them down too.
  • A/C – Keep them inside if you have A/C and if you don’t, keep a few fans going.
  • Digging – Let your dog dig! It’s cooler at the bottom of the hole than at ground level. I know people that have a designated “digging” spot for their dogs!
  • Spa Day – Some long-haired pets may benefit from a bath, trim, and good brushing.

Keep an eye out for danger signs of heat stroke: drooling, fatigue, heavy panting, vomiting, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, or seizures.

If your dog or cat has these signs check their temperature (over 103 for a dog or 104 for a cat is too high). If it is high, you need to cool your pet off quickly. The easiest way is to spray or immerse your pet in cool (not cold) water. You can apply cool, wet towels to their groin and feet; this will help lower their temp. Or soak a beach towel in cool water and have your dog lay on it.

If you believe your pet has suffered a mild case of heat stroke, even if you’ve treated it in time and successfully, you need to see your vet. Heat stroke can cause serious internal problems that may not be obvious for days after the event.

Enjoy the summer, beat the heat, and let your best friend snooze through the hottest part of the day!

 

Bunny Benefits

Are you looking for a pet that is friendly, easy to train, but not quite as demanding as a puppy? Think bunny!  They may make an excellent addition to your family.

Bunnies are wonderful pets, perfect for smaller households, and are ideal for families with kids. (very young children are too rough on bunnies and thus not suitable as playmates until they are a bit older). 

Here are some bunny positives:

  • Bunnies have loads of personality! 
  • They bond with their people just like dogs and cats do. 
  • They need less space than many other pets.
  • They are quiet.
  • They are easy to train and as smart as dogs and cats.
  • A bunny has a long lifespan (into their teens with good care).  
  • Rabbits are playful.
  • They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.
  • There are a lot of rescue bunnies available, so check with your local shelter. Be sure you’re ready for any pet before you adopt. They all come with joys and challenges.
  • They are very clean pets and easily housebroken. 

Rabbits make fun, loyal pets. If you’ve decided that a bunny might be a good addition to your home, read the links below and call your shelter or local rabbit rescue society.

Is a Rabbit Right for Me?
House Rabbit Supply List

 

Fun Pet Holidays in August

National Immunization Awareness Month

August 8 – International Cat Day
August 10 – Spoil Your Dog Day
August 17 – National Black Cat Appreciation Day
August 26 – National Dog Day

 

Dog Pupsicle Recipes!

Almost any food your dog loves can be frozen into a summertime treat. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Apple, Peanut, and Yogurt Pops
Use a container of non-fat plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, and a cup of apple sauce. Mix them together in a bowl and freeze in a popsicle mold or an ice tray. Serve!

Chicken Pupsicles
1 cup low sodium chicken stock, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup canned 100% pumpkin, and some finely chopped chicken. Mix in a bowl, pour into an ice tray and freeze. Yum!

Bacon Pops
1 cup non-fat plain yogurt, 1/2 cup apple sauce, and a handful of real bacon bits. Freeze and serve!

Banana Peanut Butter Frozen Treats
1 ripe banana, 1/2 cup peanut butter, and 1 cup of apple sauce. Mash and freeze!

Fruit Pops
Mix together a couple of fruits your dog loves like watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, or banana. Add a cup of non-fat plain yogurt. Freeze and serve. Delish!

If your dog is diabetic go lightly on the bananas, as they are high in natural sugar. Instead, you can substitute 100% pumpkin for the banana in the above recipes!

Enjoy your summer with one of these cool treats!

 

Pet Reads!

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

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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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:

 
 
Copyright © 2017 Vital Visits Pet Sitting Service, All rights reserved.

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June Newsletter 2017

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Summer is here! 

  • Our Summer Schedule is Filling Up Fast!  Be Sure To Schedule Your Summer Vacations Soon.
  • 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!
  • Existing clients can log-in here.
  • New clients can learn more about us and register here.
 

Help! My Dog Is Feasting On Grass!

Some dogs seem to be part cow with all the grass eating they do. Does your dog munch on grass? If so, why? Are they sick, bored, or hungry? Will grass eating hurt them? Guess what? Grass eating is very common but not very well understood. Many dogs love eating grass, it’s even been observed in wild canines, so there is nothing unusual about it. Most vets consider it a normal canine behavior. So why do they do it? There are a number of theories why – below are the most popular.

  • Many people will tell you their dogs eat grass when they don’t feel well, and they use a grass snack to throw up. Studies have shown that less than 25% of dogs throw up after eating grass, but this may occasionally be their reason.
  • Dogs, like people, are omnivores – which means their diet consists of meat and plants, so it’s natural for them to include plants in their diets. It may add roughage, help their digestion, or offer nutrients they need.
  • It’s tasty and available! And dogs, for the most part, enjoy the process of eating (don’t we all).
  • Sometimes dogs are bored. They dig, chew grass, or eat dirt just for something to do.
  • Occasionally dogs are anxious and need to be doing something, so they chew plants.
  • Some studies have shown that wild animals eat grass to eliminate intestinal parasites. Plant material speeds up their intestine and helps to get rid of parasites. Since most domesticated dogs are free from this problem, this may be a leftover wild behavior.

The only caveat with a grass eating dog… you need to be sure the grass they are munching on is fertilizer and pesticide free. Many people use all sorts of dangerous chemicals on their yard to keep it in tip-top shape. So be sure the grass your pet is eating is “organic” and don’t worry when your dog does a little grass snacking, it tastes good! Here is a study that seems to debunk the myth of an upset tummy. You can read the AKC take on grass eating here.

 

Does My Dog Have a Cold?

If your best friend is coughing, has a runny nose, or is just “off” you might be inclined to think they have a cold. The colds people get are not contagious to dogs, so the short answer is: Your dog does not have a cold. Dogs do, however, get illnesses that can affect their respiratory system that may result in a cough and runny nose. One of the most common is called kennel cough or Bordetella. This illness is highly contagious. Any dog can get it even if they haven’t been in a kennel recently, but it does tend to spread quickly in kennels (a great reason to use a Pet Sitter). If your dog displays the following symptoms, it may be time to take them to your vet and have them evaluated.

  • persistent, “honking” cough
  • watery nasal discharge
  • sneezing
  • eye discharge
  • loss of appetite
  • lethargy

Kennel cough can lead to pneumonia if left untreated. There is a vaccination for Bordetella so you may want to discuss that with your vet next time you’re there. Follow your vet’s advice and get your pup back to good health and high spirits. Read about Kennel Cough according to the AKC.

 

Fun Pet Holidays in June

Adopt a Cat Month National Pet Preparedness Month National Microchip Month June 4 –  International Hug Your Cat Day June 4 – Pet Appreciation Week June 8 – Best Friends Day June 11 – Pet Memorial Day June 23 – Take Your Pet To Work Day

 

Pet First Aid Kit Supplies

I bet you have a first aid kit in your home for people, right? You might consider having one for your pets too. Accidents happen, and a first aid kit will tide you over while you head to the vet. If you ever have to evacuate in an emergency, it’s easy to have a first aid kit all set up so you can just pick it up and go. As promised last month, here are few things that should be in your kit:

  • the name and number of your vet and emergency clinic
  • the Animal Poison Control Center
  • your pet’s medical records
  • gauze
  • self-adherent wrap bandages
  • adhesive tape
  • activated charcoal
  • eye dropper
  • scissors
  • styptic powder
  • tweezers
  • flashlight
  • disposal gloves
  • eye/ear wash
  • thermometer
  • cotton swabs/balls
  • wound disinfectant
  • Benadryl
  • muzzle
  • leash
 

Pet Reads!

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

 
 
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How To Check And Clean Your Cat’s Ears

Check And Clean Your Cat's Ears

An important part of keeping your cat healthy and happy is checking and cleaning their ears. Because the ears are one of the few parts that cats can not reach themselves they need a little help from a loving owner. Keeping your cats ears clean is extremely important because any unremoved dirt, debris, or wax can clog the ears and cause infections. Regular ear cleaning at home augment’s your cats own natural grooming habits. read more

May Newsletter 2017

Vital Visits News, Tips, and More!

Spring is for New Puppies and Kittens!

Thinking of getting a new pet this spring? A wise owner will do a lot of preparation before the new pup or kitten comes home. You need to consider where they will sleep, if they will be allowed on the furniture, what will they do all day long, and who will train the pup?

You will also need a lot of supplies. Here are some of the essential items you’ll need before your puppy or kitten comes home.

Dogs

    • Food and water bowls – consider non-tip bowls, they will result in less of a mess for everyone. Larger breeds like their bowls raised for easier eating and drinking. 

  • Puppy food – choose a top brand food made for puppies.
  • A crate – they are very helpful with house training, and it’s a perfect place to keep your pup safe and confined when you can’t supervise them. Most dogs that are introduced to a crate as puppies love them and use them as their “den” as adult dogs. Never use a crate for punishment.
  • Bed – put it in their crate if you are using one so that it will be your pup’/s “safe spot.”
  • Walking equipment – collar, leash, and ID tags.
  • Car harness/seatbelt – be sure they are sized correctly.
  • Training basics – treats (small) and possibly a clicker.
  • Puppy toys – we love a Kong! Also, consider a ball, a rope/tug toy, and a good teething toy like a flavored NylaBone. Dogs and puppies like new toys so keep rotating them. Pups love stuffed toys and Kong makes some good sturdy ones, but be aware that no stuffed toy is indestructible so keep an eye on it when your dog is chewing them. Many a dog has swallowed a squeaker. 
  • Essential grooming tools – the appropriate type of brush for your dog’s coat, nail clippers, and a toothbrush.
  • Potty bags – be a responsible dog owner and clean up after your pup.
  • Enzyme cleaner – there will be accidents in the beginning, so it’s best to be prepared!

Cats 

  • Food and Water Bowls – consider non-tip for kittens too.
  • Kitty food – high-quality kitten food.
  • Potty basics – litter box, litter, and scoop.
  • Cat bed – you will need at least one. Every cat loves a bed or shelf that attaches to a window; who doesn’t love a view?
  • Scratching post – along with training, this will help save your furniture.
  • Grooming tools – a brush, nail clippers, and toothbrush.
  • Breakaway collar and ID tag – this should be on your cat every time it leaves the house, even for a vet visit.
  • Carrier – for trips in the car.
  • Cat toys – be sure they are not too small – we don’t want your kitten to swallow them.
 

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Happy May! 

  • Memorial Day is right around the corner and summer vacations are right behind that! If have your vacation dates please book your pet sitting as soon as you can.
  • 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!
  • Existing clients can log-in here.
  • New clients can learn more about us and register here.
 

Pet Emergency Preparedness

It can happen to you, a tornado strikes your town, a hurricane blows through, or a flood happens. Make plans ahead of time to be sure your pets are protected when disaster strikes.

  • Make a pet evacuation plan. Research shelters and their pet policies. Keep copies of your pet’s vaccination records to take with you. If you don’t have a car find emergency service organizations that will help transport your pet. 
  • Have a one week supply of food for each pet.
  • Keep a list of boarding facilities and hotels that will take pets contact them to be sure of their policies.
  • Identify your pet clearly. Make sure their ID tag is up to date, have your pet microchipped, and use medical tape and a permanent marker to put your emergency location on their collar.
  • Put together an emergency kit. It needs food, their dishes, medications, leashes, and kitty litter.
  • Have a secure way to transport your pets, with a crate, harness, and seatbelt. 
  • Have an emergency first aid kit (for people and animals) and take it with you when you evacuate. (we’ll go over what you need in that next month)

ASPCA Disaster Preparedness – lots of information here.
Homeland Security has a website – devoted to Animals of all types and disasters.

 

Meet Mabel!

Mabel is one of our favorite dog walking and swimming clients. Did you know that most dogs LOVE swimming and it offers many benefits for your pet?

Swimming is a great hot weather exercise, your dog gets a great workout and doesn’t overheat. Experts say that 1 minute of swimming is equal to about 4 minutes of running.

Swimming not only releases pent up energy but it helps a dog relax. For an older dog, it’s great exercise without too much stress on their joints. And a great workout for an overweight dog!

As you can see Mabel loves any activity and swimming changes up her routine, so she isn’t bored. She is always thrilled to see us at the door.

If you are going to try swimming with your older dog or one with health issues, talk to your vet first. For safety always watch your dog in the water, better yet, go in with them!

We have a variety of Pet Packages that we tailor to your dog’s age and exercise needs. You can read about them here.

 

Fun Pet Holidays in May

National Pet Month
National Microchip Your Pet Month
Pet Cancer Awareness Month

May 1 –  National Purebred Dog Day
May 3 –  National Specially-Abled Pets Day
May 4 –  Respect for Chickens Day
May 7 –  Be Kind to Animals Week
May 13 – Frog Jumping Day
May 8 –  National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day
May 21 – Dog Bite Prevention Week
May 23 – World Turtle Day
May 30 – International Hug Your Cat Day

 

13 Things You Didn’t Know About Pets

  • Dogs feet often smell like Fritos!
  • Dogs only have sweat glands in their paws.
  • Pet your dog, it lowers YOUR blood pressure.
  • Puppies are born blind, deaf, and toothless.
  • The most popular breed of dog is a Lab.
  • The Australian Shepard is not native to Australia; they come from the Basque region of the Pyrenees Mountains (Spain).
  • Both cats and dogs dream.
  • Cats have big eyes and can’t focus well on things that are too close.
  • The largest breed of cat is a Maine Coon. (average weight is 18 lbs.)
  • Cats spend 2/3 of their life napping.
  • Birds are attracted to shiny objects (watch your jewelry).
  • Bunnies get bored and need socialization and toys.
  • Many reptiles smell with their tongues!
(The image here is a Maine Coon and an Australian Shepard)
 

Pet Reads!

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

 
 
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April Newsletter 2017

 

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!

Heartworm – The Facts!

The month of April is National Heartworm Awareness Month. Let’s go over the facts of this disease, so we have the information we need to keep our pets safe.

Heartworm is a devastating, potentially fatal disease. The good news is that it is preventable. Heartworm has been found in ALL 50 states, although it is more common in the southeast. Studies by the American Heartworm Society have found Heartworm infections are increasing across the USA.

Heartworm is exactly like it sounds, a parasite that lives inside your pet’s heart and blood vessels of their lungs. Mosquitoes transmit this disease, and if left untreated it will not only affect the heart and lungs, but your dog’s liver, kidney, eyes, and eventually cause death.

There are very few symptoms in the early stages of the disease but as the number of heartworms increase so do the symptoms which include coughing, exercise intolerance, fatigue, labored breathing, and weight loss. Often by the time you notice any symptoms your pet may have irreversible damage to their health. This is why it’s so important to have your dog tested every single spring for heartworm.

Diagnosis is a simple blood test. If your pet tests positive for heartworm, your vet may want to do some further testing to see how advanced the disease is. Treatment is expensive, often difficult, takes time, and is not without its own risks. It usually involves a series of shots, medications, hospitalization, and strict confinement for your pet. The goal of every pet owner should be prevention.

There are a number of preventative canine heartworm medications available from your vet. They come in oral, topical, and injectables and many of them also protect your pet against other parasites. Some pet owners think they can skip heartworm medication in the winter, but the current veterinary recommendation is to treat for it all year around. A day or two of winter thaw can cause mosquitoes to hatch which increases the risk of infection.

Don’t take any chances with your best friend, have your dog tested this spring and talk to your vet about the proper medication for your pooch.American Heartworm Society Questions and Answers
Does My Dog Need a Heartworm Test
Heartworm Infographic

 

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Happy Spring! 

  • If you need pet sitting for this the weekend or vacations, please book as early as possible.
  • 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!
  • Existing clients can log-in here.
  • New clients can learn more about us and register here.
  • Read my blog article: Keeping Pets Safe on Walks
 

5 Obesity Tips You Can See Coming

There are many factors that contribute to obesity, here are a few to watch out for.

  • Breed – some breeds like Labs, Boxers, and Bulldogs have a tendency to gain weight. If you own one of these breeds, you need to be extra vigilant with food.
  • Inaccurate information – incorrect feeding instructions or calorie information on dog food is common. Many suggest servings that are too large or have incorrect calorie counts. Look at your dog, do they have a waistline?
  • Treats – I know, they beg and look at you with sad eyes, but too many treats and table scraps quickly add up to a chubby pet. Try green beans, tiny training treats, apple pieces, or even carrots.
  • Get moving – start walking! It’s good for both of you, and not enough exercise is the second most common cause of extra weight (eating too much is #1).
  • Age – most of us (dogs and people) slow down a bit as we age. We all need to reduce our calorie intake a bit as we get older.
 

Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

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

Cats

  • Purring – this lovely behavior happens for a variety of reasons, usually situational. Most of the time purring is associated with positive situations and contentment.
  • Kneading and rubbing – both are signs of positive feelings; your cat is expressing their love and need for a bit of comfort and attention from you.
  • Blinking and eye contact – in most animals, staring is a form of assessing a threat and establishing dominance. Blinking serves as a “break” from an otherwise aggressive stare, and long, slow blinking means your cat is relaxed.
  • Hunting – cats are amazing predators and practice their hunting skills whenever they can. Mother cats instinctually hunt to feed their kittens. When your cat brings you a “gift,” they are telling you how much they love you (and they may think you need a little mothering too).
  • Tail up! – when a cat is holding their tail straight up, a behavior seen in cats of all ages, it’s a friendly greeting to you and an acknowledgment of status. The straighter the tail, the more status you have.
  • Tummy view – not all cats like a belly rub, but when your cat shows you their tummy, which is a very vulnerable posture for your cat, they are telling you they love and trust you.

Dogs

  • Play bow – when your dog gets into a play bow this is their way of telling you it’s time for a little fun. They are trying to engage you in play.
  • Wag the dog – there has been a lot of research on tail wagging! A recent study shows that their tails tell a lot more about their feelings than we previously thought. Wagging to the right is a more positive sign, left wagging seems to indicate negative emotions.
  • Smiling – I love it when a dog smiles. This is a means of communicating playfulness to humans. Interestingly, this is a behavior dogs have learned to use with people, and it’s never used to communicate with other dogs.
  • Slurp, face licking – this is a common way for a pooch to show you affection. It also might be because your body lotion tastes good! 
  • Yawing – Just like people, dogs yawn when they are tired, but in other cases, a yawn is an indication that your dog is nervous or stressed out.

Dogs and cats do their best to learn our language; this primer should help you learn a little bit of “animal speak.”

Cat Speak in Pictures
Dog Speak in Pictures

 

Fun Pet Holidays in April

National Heartworm Awareness Month
National Greyhound Adoption Month

April 2 – National Ferret Day.
April 5 – National Birding Day
April 10 – Hug Your Dog Day
April 19 – Pet Owners Day
April 23 – Lost Dog Awareness Day
April 29 – World Veterinary Day
April 30 – Adopt From a Shelter Day

 

Pet Reads!

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

 
 
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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.

March Newsletter 2017

 

 Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!

On The Road Again!

Most dogs and people love going for a ride in the car. No matter how long or short the car trip is, it’s important to keep your pet safe. You’d never consider putting your child in the car without being buckled in, and just like any other passenger, your best friend needs a seatbelt too.

We all know that a dog riding in your lap is not a good idea but did you know that being in the front passenger seat puts them at significant risk of being injured? It’s the airbag… they are meant to protect adult humans, and they can seriously injure your pet. The back seat is the safest place for your pooch, either using a seatbelt or secured in a crate. Here are some great reasons to strap your dog in:

  • Sudden Stops – We can never predict when we’ll have to JAM on the brakes and if you do your pet could hit the rear seat or dashboard. A dog’s nose if very sensitive and an accident would be painful. Getting thrown on the floor or against the windshield can break bones.
  • Distractions – An unsecured dog can cause a serious distraction to drivers and is dangerous to everyone on the road. Many accidents happen when a dog jumps into the driver’s lap.
  • Road Debris – Many dogs love having their heads out the window on a ride. However, your vet will be the first person to tell you that they treat dogs all the time that have gotten objects in their nose and eyes or have been hit by road debris. You can buy a screen for the window or put goggles on your dog if you want to be super safe.
  • Staying Inside – Every year injuries happen when a pet jumps out of the window of a moving car. Dogs often operate on instinct and some dogs, when they see a cat or a squirrel, just go after it. 
  • Stability – Believe it or not, most dogs can better brace themselves in a moving car when they are restrained. They lean into the harness, and it’s easier for them to stay upright. All seatbelts and harnesses allow for a dog to sit and lay down too.
  • Emergency – Even a minor traffic accident can cause the door to pop open or the window to break. Accidents are noisy and scary. Many pets have jumped out of a vehicle and gotten lost after a crash because they were not belted in.

The next question is, are all safety restraints safe? The answer is no. This crash test video done by the Center for Pet Safety is hard to watch (done with stuffed animals) but shows that most restraints failed the crash tests. At the end of that crash test page are some harnesses and crates that passed the tests.

Hit the road and keep your best friend safe!

 

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

  • Happy Spring! If you need pet sitting for this the weekend or vacations, please book as early as possible.
  • 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!
  • Existing clients can log-in here.
  • New clients can learn more about us and register here.
  • Read my blog article: How Safe Is It If My Dog Walker Texts And Talks On The Phone?
 

Quick Spring Pet Tips

  • Fleas and tick activity is picking up in Spring, protect your pet!
  • Keep spring cleaning supplies away from your pets.
  • Don’t use sticks for a retrieving game, they aren’t good for your dog’s teeth and can cause injury to throats.
  • It’s allergy season look for skin problems – rashes and itching.
  • Make sure your windows have screens in them, so your pet doesn’t jump out!
  • Keep pets away from fertilizer and other lawn and garden products.
  • Don’t use human sunscreen on your pets; the ingredients can be deadly. They make sunscreen specifically for pets.
  • Car’s are heating up again, don’t leave your pet in yours.
  • Don’t forget to give your dog heartworm medication every month.
 

Everything’s Going To Be Alright

Listening to music is a great way to unwind. The “right” song can put me to sleep, and another can energize my entire day. Music has positive effects on animals too. Many studies have been done on music and our pets but the most recent, published in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior, puts a new slant on it.

They tested dogs with 5 different playlists, Classical, Pop, Motown, Reggae, Soft Rock and a quiet time. They measured their heart rate, stress hormone levels, and their behavior over a period of time. Of course, some dogs seemed to favor one type of music over another, but some very consistent patterns emerged from the study.

Overall, music does have a calming effect on dogs. Guess which playlist relaxed the dogs the most? If you chose Classical music you got it wrong (so did I). It’s time to go out and buy some Bob Marley music; Reggae won paws down.

Shelters, which are often scary places for animals, are now piping in “island music” to help the animals loosen up and enjoy their stay more. If your pet has separation anxiety or problems with thunderstorms you can help them “chill” with some tunes from Jamaica.

Dog love Reggae.
Everything’s Going to be Alright – Bob Marley

 

Fun Pet Holidays In March

March 1 – National Pig Day
March 9 – 15 – National Aardvark Week
March 14 – Save a Spider Day
March 20 – World Frog Day    
March 23 – National Puppy Day
March 26 – Manatee Appreciation Day
March 28 – Respect Cats Day

 

Pet Reads!

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

 
 
Copyright © 2017 Vital Visits Pet Sitting Service, All rights reserved.

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