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December Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 
Don’t forget to see our links and clickable pet infographic at the end of the newsletter; chock full of holiday tips and information!
 

Rabies! What You Need to Know

The word “rabies” creates dread in most of us and it should. Rabies is a devastating and deadly viral disease that affects mammals; including dogs, cats, and humans. It’s called a zoonotic disease which means it can be transferred from animals to humans. Rabies is widespread and found in every US state except Hawaii.

Rabies mainly occurs in wild animals like skunks, raccoons, bats, fox, and coyotes. Cats are the most common domestic animal infected with this disease. That’s because many cat owners let their cats out to hunt and don’t vaccinate them. Unfortunately, there is no cure for rabies. This disease is almost always fatal and once signs of the disease are present the animal usually dies within days.

Most states have mandatory laws requiring rabies vaccinations for both dogs and cats. Most kittens and pups receive their first vaccination at 12 weeks of age and then every year after that (there is also a vaccination that lasts 3 years). Most areas have free or low-cost rabies clinics sponsored by local animal control, shelters, or the humane society.

There is only one way to keep your animals healthy – vaccinate them. If you don’t and your dog bites someone, depending on the laws in your area, it could mean quarantine or euthanasia for your pet. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal call your veterinarian immediately. Get the wound cleaned and let your vet decide if your pet needs a rabies booster.

If you come in contact with or get bitten by an unvaccinated animal (wild or domestic), you may need to go through rabies vaccinations. Don’t panic, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and lots of water (wash for a good 10 minutes). Call your doctor or go to an emergency room and explain what happened. Report your bite to animal control as soon as possible and your local health department. Rabies vaccinations for a bite are not as bad as they use to be but still require a series of shots based on your weight over a few weeks.

These vaccinations are very expensive, usually covered by insurance, but not always. So, protect yourself ahead of time. Here is an excellent article about rabies facts and more importantly – prevention tips.

Keep your family and best friends safe, vaccinate for rabies!

 
 

Vital Visits News!

Alternative to Overnight Service?
No Overnight but want pet visits?

Alternative To Overnight A.M. – Early morning 6:00 – 7 am, per visit – $35.00
Alternative To Overnight P.M. – Nightly 9:00 – 10:30 pm, per visits – $35.00.

 

How to Keep Your Senior Pet in Tip-Top Shape!

Great news! Due to improved vet care and better dietary habits, our pets are living longer than ever before. As a consequence, this leads to a bit more veterinary care as your pet age.

What is senior anyway? There isn’t a specific age when the senior label is applied for either cats or dogs. It depends on species, breed, genetics, and the overall health of your pet. Generally, cats can be considered senior citizens at around 11 years of age. For small dogs “older” starts around 11 years old and about 9 for large pooches.

Here are some things you can expect as your pet ages, less energy, weight gain, and behavioral changes.

How can we best manage our senior pets to keep them as healthy as possible for as long as possible?

Vet care: The most important thing you can do with your older pet is to visit your vet more often. Age-related problems can be subtle and happen slowly – something you may miss but your vet won’t. If you notice changes in their behavior, appetite, sudden changes in their energy level, or any unexplained lumps, schedule a vet visit. Ask your vet for a body condition evaluation at each visit too.

Diet: Most pets are less active as they age so they’ll need fewer calories. Try feeding fresh veggies for treats, or to reduce the calorie content of their meals. Ask your vet about fortifying their diets.

Get moving: Exercise helps your older pet stay healthy. It will help to maintain a healthy body weight, slow the degeneration of joints, and it’s fun! Listen to your pet; if they seem tired, it’s time to stop. Maybe your dog used to hike with you for hours but don’t ask them to do that anymore. Dogs try to keep up with their owners even when they are tired. Keep it short and keep it fun.

Keep them thinking: You can teach older pets new tricks and you should! Try introducing some puzzle toys that your pet has to figure out in order to get a treat. Anything that keeps their mind active is a plus.

Brush their teeth: Dental care is important. Bad teeth will make your pet miserable, and it will be hard for them to eat. Keep brushing those chompers!

Vision & Hearing: If your pet has vision or hearing problems, be sure to keep them safe. Remove dangerous objects around the house, use gates, and keep them on a leash or in a fenced area. At night keep a light on for a pet with vision problems.

Accessibility: Your dog or cat may develop issues that make it more difficult for them to get around. Help them navigate by providing ramps, steps to get on the bed, a litter box with lower sides, rugs on hard floors, orthopedic beds, and even a harness to help them up.

Sadly, senior pets are often the last adopted at shelters, which is unfortunate because they are the perfect pet for many families. Most often they are trained, more laid back, and a lot less work than a puppy or kitten! So if you are thinking of adding to your pet family, don’t overlook an older pet.

Keeping our pets happy and healthy in their senior years just takes a watchful eye and a few accommodations.

Senior Pet Tips

 

Is Your Cat Crazy for Catnip?

Here is the low down on catnip! Catnip is a perennial herb in the mint family. Most cats, including lions, tigers, and yes your domesticated house cat are susceptible to the aromatic oils found in the leaves of the plant. We say “most” because genetically about a quarter of cats don’t seem to respond at all to catnip.

What happens to those cats that do respond to catnip? Well, if you’re a science buff, when your cat sniffs the volatile oil in catnip it interacts with feline nasal tissue, which turns on sensory neurons that stimulate certain areas of their brain and gives them a hyperactive reaction. On the other hand, if your cat eats the catnip, they usually settle into a zoned-out state of bliss. Either state, hyperactive or bliss, usually lasts for about 10 minutes.

Is catnip safe for your cat? The answer to that is yes it’s both safe for your cat to sniff or eat and it’s non-addictive. Some people use it as a training aid, so if your cat is clawing up your furniture, you might try rubbing some catnip on their scratching post. Some people don’t like the idea of their cat getting “high,” so it’s a matter of personal choice if you want your cat to indulge, but again, it won’t hurt your cat.

You can grow catnip in your garden or on your windowsill. It can be purchased as a plant from your local garden center, or you can grow it from seed. Even easier, you can buy it dried or in toys from pet supply stores. If you buy it loose store it in your freezer because the potency of the catnip oils doesn’t last a long time when exposed to air.

Go ahead, buy your cat a catnip toy and enjoy the show!
 

Check out this link; photographer Andrew Marttila captured photos of cats “on” catnip.

More Catnip information.

 

Great Pet Links!

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

 
 

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November Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

My Dog Doesn’t Come When He’s Called!

One of the most important things you can teach your dog is to come when he’s called. A reliable recall is critical for both their safety and your peace of mind. So, how can we get our dogs to respond to our calls? It’s not that hard to teach, but it’s a hard command to keep reliable. Why? Because we use our dog’s name all the time in other ways, so they get bored or immune to it!

Here are some points to remember:

Be consistent – You may mix it up with, “Rover come” “Rover, here boy” “Rover, get over here.” However, these are not the same to your dog; all 3 sound like different things to him. You have to pick a phrase and use it every single time. Most people say: “Rover, come.” Keep in mind we tend to overuse our pet’s name: “Rover is so cute.” “I love you, Rover.” “Did you do that Rover?” “Rover no.” So, it doesn’t hurt to come up with something else to indicate you want him to come. We know a rescue dog that probably had bad juju associated with his name, and he wouldn’t come to it. His people decided just to say: “Treat!” Guess what? He comes every single time when they say it. If they call his name… not so much. For that reason, maybe consider something other than their name or come. (do?i means come in Croatian!)

Train with High-Value Treats – Don’t use a plain old dog cookie, since they get those regularly. Make it super special, real chicken, cheese, or real jerky can be very motivating! Start calling his name (or your designated word) with him sitting in front of you. Call him and give him a treat, then move back a few inches. Call again and when they come, treat. Be sure to treat every single time. Don’t increase the distance too quickly. After you treat your dog, have a party too. Pet them and tell them how smart they are, jump around a bit. Make it fun! Remember, one day their life could depend on them responding without hesitation.

Keep it short – you’re better off to train recall 3 times a day for 2 minutes each time then to go at it for 15 minutes straight. You don’t want them to get bored with it.

Suspicion – Think about the term you use: do you ever use it and scold them, or get angry, or have stress in your voice? Do you use their recall term and grab or yank their collar? If you do these things, you won’t ever get a reliable recall because you’ve essentially trained your dog not to come!

Practice, practice, practice – all the time even if you’re sure they have it down pat. Reinforcement is your friend. Remember – treat every time with a high-value treat. You want your dog to know that when you call them, it means food. If your dog is not food motivated, use a favorite toy that they only get to play with when training recall.

Be patient, go slowly, have fun, and soon your Rover will come running when you call him!

 
 

Vital Visits News!

Alternative to Overnight Service?
No Overnight but want pet visits?

Alternative To Overnight A.M. – Early morning 6:00 – 7 am, per visit – $35.00
Alternative To Overnight P.M. – Nightly 9:00 – 10:30 pm, per visits – $35.00.

 

The Benefits of Growing Up With a Pet

Not only is a dog man’s best friend, but they will undoubtedly be your child’s (or grandchild’s) best friend too. Here are some reasons that a pet makes a great addition to a family.

Pets give unconditional love, and they will help teach your kids what that means. Pets listen when your child is lonely, sad, angry, or afraid. They attend tea parties, lick away our tears, and even keep our secrets. Who wouldn’t want a best friend like that?

Kids can help with pet care and learn responsibility. Give your child an age-appropriate task for your pet, such as keeping the water bowls fresh and full. Or, have them help with feeding. These tasks help your child bond with your pet and learn about commitment. Gently make them keep up their task. Contributing to the care of a family pet helps them develop compassion, empathy, and self-esteem.

Your kids will get more exercise. In this day and age when kids are spending so much time with electronics, a pet (especially a dog) is a great way to get them outside and moving. They can take the dog for a walk, toss a ball for them in the backyard; even playing with the cat takes them away from the iPad!

Children who live with pets are sick less often. Many studies have proved this. Better yet, children that are exposed to pets around birth have fewer allergies. Children that are exposed to pets early on are also less likely to have eczema.

Believe it or not, pets help kids develop their reading skills.There were studies done about this too! Young children love to read to their pets, which encourages them to practice reading, learn new words, and gain confidence.

Learning to love and care for animals helps to encourage the next generation of animal advocates. Sadly, we all know that some animals are mistreated, and there are just too many pets in shelters. Kids that grow up with a pet are more likely to rescue an animal in need; it teaches them respect for all living things.

So consider a new friend – because these benefits aren’t just for kids, pets benefit your entire family!

 

Are These Buggers Bugging Your Cat?

The most common external feline parasite is a flea. You may be saying, “Oh my cat is an indoor cat.” Well guess again, indoor cats get fleas all the time. Fleas are good hitchhikers; they most often ride in on you, your guests, or another pet. Once in your home, a single flea can produce 600 new fleas in a month! If your cat gets fleas not only will they be miserable, but fleas add up to more than just an itchy nuisance. They can cause allergic dermatitis, anemia, tapeworm, and in kittens, they can be deadly.

Here is how to spot an infestation on your pet:

  • Constant scratching
  • Constant grooming
  • Red or irritated skin
  • Hair loss
  • Skin infection
  • Seeing the fleas on your pet
  • Visible flea “dirt” on your cat’s skin (it looks like dirt but is actually flea poop, gross!)

If your cat has fleas, be sure to treat all the pets in your home, because fleas don’t play favorites! What to do if your home is filled with unwanted guests? There are a number of products on the market, from oral flea medications, topical flea treatments, and even flea collars. The best bet is to discuss it with your vet.

The most frequent internal pest your cat can get is Tapeworm.Tapeworm is spread by ingesting the larvae, usually from fleas or by catching and eating outdoor rodents or scavenging in trashcans. Tapeworm can be spread to humans (usually to children), so it’s something you want to take care of right away. They are generally not considered dangerous to your cat, but they can cause weight loss and tummy pain.

The most common symptom of tapeworm in cats is small cream-colored segments of tapeworm in your cat feces or on their fur under their tail. Your cat may lick or bite at their bum more often or drag their hindquarters on the floor to combat the itching.

If your cat has Tapeworm symptoms call your vet, take in a stool sample, and your kitty will get a shot or medication that will quickly take care of the problem.

Keeping your cat indoors does cut down on the possibility of parasites but doesn’t eliminate them completely. So keep an eye on your cat, and you’ll both be itch free!

(A flea is about the size of a poppy seed! Way smaller than this one.  ?)

 

Great Pet Links!

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

 
 
 
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October Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 
 

How to Help a Senior Dog When You’re Away

Has your dog gone from confident and happy to insecure and anxious? Sometimes as our pups age, they change a bit and separation anxiety sets in. In most cases, this can be a normal part of aging, but it can be caused by physical issues as well, so talk to your vet if a change happens.

Just like older people, older dogs like to stay within their comfort zones and don’t like a change in their routine (we can relate)! So, if your dog seems more stressed about being alone here are a few steps you can take to make them more comfortable.

First, make sure when you are home that Fido gets regular exercise. It not only helps to disperse excess energy but it’s healthy to keep stiff joints moving.

Sound can make your home seem a bit less lonely. Consider leaving the TV, radio, or white noise on for your dog. Try a relaxation CD; they work well at relaxing people and dogs.

Older dogs’ eyesight may decrease as they age, be sure to leave some lights on for them if you are going to be gone after dark.

Of course, your dog has a nice comfy bed or cozy spot to rest already, but make sure his toys are near it. Also, you may want to leave your scent on or near his bed. Put an old sweatshirt on his bed so it smells like you – that comforts most pets.

Because senior dogs don’t have the same “holding” power as a younger dog, be sure they get a mid-day potty break. We are happy to get your older pup outside for a potty break, a nice slow walk, and some chit-chat (and a few treats).

To keep your older companion safe, close the door to the basement and block off the upper level if they aren’t as good at navigating stairs as they use to be.

Keep them busy with a frozen stuffed Kong toy while you’re gone; many dogs will work at it for hours and snooze the rest of the day.

Keep in mind that older dogs like a routine, so try to stick to one as best you can, follow these tips, and hopefully, your buddy will chill out!

 

Vital Visits News!

Alternative to Overnight Service? No overnight but want pet visits?

Alternative To Overnight A.M. – Early morning 6:00 – 7 am, per visit – $35.00
Alternative To Overnight P.M. – Nightly 9:00 – 10:30 pm, per visits – $35.00.

 

Uh Oh, My Dog Has The Runs!

One of the most common problems seen in veterinary offices: tummy (GI) upsets that result in diarrhea. It’s a messy, sometimes painful, and always a bad all around experience for dogs and their people.

The runs can be caused by a very long list of problems, but below are some common causes:

Stress – just like with people, stress can cause GI upset in pups
Parasites – intestinal worms
Diet changes – new food can upset tummies
Infections – viral or bacterial
Metabolic disease – problems with liver, pancreas, or thyroid
Inflammatory disorders – like inflammatory bowel disease
Dietary indiscretion – eating something they should not have

What is the best way to treat the runs?

If you think your pup is just going through a bad patch, you can try and treat the runs on your own. Vets always used to suggest fasting for a dog with diarrhea; nowadays vets seem to be split on this 50/50. It won’t hurt a dog with no other medical problems to go 8 – 10 hours without food to try and calm their tummy down, but always make sure they have plenty of fresh water around. If your pup isn’t interested in drinking plain water, try offering some chicken broth and water (50/50 mix).

Keep your dog quiet and in a spot where you can keep an eye on them. If your dog’s bed is usually on a carpet in your house, this is a good time to move it to a location with a hard floor where an accident will be easy to clean up. Remember not to scold your dog for an accident!

When it is time to feed them, start small with a meal of boiled white chicken meat (no bones or skin) and cooked white rice. Give your dog a couple of hours, and then you can try a tiny bit more chicken and rice.

When should you take your dog to the vet?

If your dog is very young, very old, very small, or has another medical problem, you should see your vet right away. Diarrhea can quickly turn into a life-threatening problem for pups in those categories.

If you know that Fido ate something potentially deadly you need to go to a vet immediately. For example, a lot of non-digestible items that may have been mixed with food in the trash (tinfoil, plastic) or anything toxic (grapes, mushrooms outdoors, alcohol, medications, etc.).

If your dog isn’t drinking water, is in pain, has blood in their stool, is vomiting along with the runs, or has lethargy the vet should be your first stop!

See your vet if the runs have continued for 24 hours or more or your dog has other symptoms along with diarrhea; vomiting, weakness, pain, or fever.

Most of the time a case of simple diarrhea will respond to treatment, and your dog will make a full recovery in 24 hours.

Expert advice on doggie runs here.

 

How to Help a Scaredy Cat

You adopt a new kitten or cat and look forward to years of fun, happiness, and purring. But, what if your new friend is stressed out, runs under the bed, and doesn’t come out? The good news is: There is a lot you can do to help your buddy relax and feel safe.

First, you should know that some cats, just like some people, are shy. Accept your kitties personality. However, if you have a rescue, a cat that was a stray or feral, or one that was poorly socialized you’ll have to work patiently at helping them overcome their fear.

Here are some steps you can take.

  • Be patient. This won’t happen overnight.
  • Give your new cat some space, let them come to you.
  • Give them treats but don’t pet them yet.
  • Let them have a hiding place, they need a place to go when they feel afraid.
  • Play with them, it helps build trust.
  • Remain calm and try and keep your household calm and quiet. Cats are very sensitive to the energy in your home. Make sure your children follow these rules.
  • Give your cat some verticle space; cats seem to feel better when they are out of reach. Put a blanket on a bookshelf, on top of the frig, or get a cat tree that is very tall.
  • Put an article of your worn clothing, with your scent on it, in their hiding spot.
  • Don’t force them to be petted, allow them to come to you.
  • Try speaking your kitty’s secret language, give your kitty some slow blinks. Instead of petting them just sit or lay a few feet away from them and when they look at you, close your eyes slowly, keep them closed for a couple of seconds and open them slowly again. Repeat. If your kitty blinks back at you, it means they are starting to calm down.

Give your cat some time and space and you’ll soon see your scaredy-cat become a confident kitty.

 

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 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

How to Teach Your Dog Four on the Floor

Jumping is the number one behavior that dog parents want to change about their best friend. It’s a natural behavior for a dog; they are excited to see you! Dogs prefer face to face greetings, and the only way to get near your face is to jump up. Our pups don’t understand that people think jumping is just plain bad manners.

There are a lot of different methods to teach your dog that you’d prefer they keep 4 on the floor (4 paws, of course) but the most important part of teaching is consistency. Whichever method you choose, you have to do it every time.

Here are some simple solutions to keep Fido jump free.

Ignore – When your dog jumps, fold your arms tightly across your chest and turn your back on them. Once he calms down and has all 4 paws on the floor turn around and pet him. Give him a lot of attention but keep it calm. If he starts jumping up again, fold and turn. At first, you may spend a lot of time with your back to your buddy, but if you’re consistent, this works quickly with most dogs. When you know there are going to be guests over (or on a dog walk) have your dog on a leash (they can drag it around the house) and when they jump, pull them down and have the guest turn their back to your pooch.

Delay – Does your dog jump when you come in the door? Start to enter and if they jump, step back out and close the door most of the way. When they settle down, try it again. Your neighbors may think you’re a little crazy, but this works. When you have a guest come over put your dog on a leash and open the door. Ask your guest to wait, back up a bit and get your dog to sit. Have the guest take a step or two forward and if your dog gets out of the sit, the guest walks out the door, and you try again.

Toy Trick – Many dogs, if you give them something to hold, a ball, a chew, a Kong, instead of jumping they will prance around and show off their favorite toy.

Level Changes – Many dogs just want to get close to your face and kiss you, so for some dogs kneeling down solves the problem. Of course, this doesn’t help when you’re out on a walk, and a stranger wants to say hello.

Here are a few what not to do ideas.

Don’t get excited – your dog will mirror your demeanor. Don’t yell at your dog if they jump, stay calm. Don’t grab your dog or push them away, to some dogs that seems like a game. Do not knee your dog, step on their toes, or cause any pain or discomfort; it never helps them learn faster. A calm, loving pet parent wins the day every time.

You won’t change this behavior overnight, and sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Be consistent and you’ll be surprised; our dogs just want to please us.

 

Vital Visits News!

Did you know we offer a variety of pet services? Dog walking, overnights, potty breaks, litter cleaning, pet taxi service and more. Our services are listed here.

Dogs, cats, birds, bunnies, even rats. We give love and care to your pets! View some client pictures here.

Returning clients can schedule their pet care here. If you have any questions give us a call:  214-664-2579.

 

Common Pet Food Mistakes

Big containers – do you pour your pet’s food into a big bin? It might be time to stop. You can put the bag of pet food into the container, but it should be left in the bag and folded over to keep it fresh. Some foods degrade rather rapidly and contamination, like Salmonella, can occur. If you do pour their food into a big plastic bin, it should be a food-safe container specifically made for pet food.

Food left in the bowl – don’t leave your dog’s food sitting out. Just like people food, it can go bad and lose nutritional value if left out. It can safely be in your dog’s dish for 2 – 4 hours.

Sunlight and humidity – don’t store their food in an area where it is in sunlight or where the temperature or humidity is high. It can quickly go bad in this environment.

Clean bowls – you have to clean your pet’s bowls regularly, which means, every day. You wouldn’t want to eat out of dirty dishes, would you? Salmonella and Listeria can easily grow in their dishes, so run them through the dishwasher or use hot soapy water every day.

Plastic bowls – avoid using plastic or ceramic dishes as they scratch easily and bacteria and odors can settle deep into the scratches. The very best are stainless steel or porcelain.

Kids and pet food – don’t let kids play with the pet food. Kids are not known for their superior hygiene; they can introduce bacteria to the pet food. Plus, you wouldn’t want junior to start munching on their kitten’s kibble!

Check dates – pay close attention to the expiration date on your pet’s food to ensure the food’s shelf life. Most often the date is on the bottom or side of the package.

Unwanted guests – be sure to keep your pet food away from bugs and rodents, they love to raid pet supplies. Don’t store it in the garage, shed, or a back porch.

These simple rules will ensure your best friend is getting safe and healthy food!

 

The Difference Between Stray & Feral Cats

It’s a common sight in most neighborhoods, an unfamiliar cat. It might be dashing across the street, poking around your backyard, or howling at a full moon! These freewheeling cats fall into one of 3 categories.

Pet – a neighbor’s pet that’s out for their evening constitutional
Stray – a cat that is either lost or has been abandon
Feral – these cats are essentially wild

We all know they are all the same species: domestic cats. But there is a world of difference between them, and it all boils down to one word: socialization. Figuring out which of these 3 types you are dealing with will help you help the cat.

It’s not too hard to recognize the difference between a pet, a stray, and a feral cat. Pets and strays have been socialized to people. Although a stray may not run right up to you, they will feel comfortable being around and living with people. A stray tends to rely on humans for survival. They will live close to you, approach you for food, meow, and even rub against your legs given a little time to get acquainted. They are almost always alone.

Feral cats, on the other hand, have minimal contact with people and they don’t want to change that. They tend to live in cat colonies. As long as you leave them alone, feral cats don’t pose much of a threat to pets or humans. A feral cat won’t vocalize with you, they may not make eye contact, will almost always keep a distance from you, and run if you attempt to close that distance.

Why does it matter what type of cat you’ve got hanging around? A stray needs and wants a home, so call your local shelter to see if your new cat visitor has been reported as lost. If not, give it a home or let your local shelter take care of it so it has a chance at adoption. Living their life as a pampered pet is what they want.

Most feral cats (unless found very young) will not be happy or safe living inside. If you take them to a shelter, they will most likely be euthanized. If you want to help the ferals in your area – they do deserve compassion – there are some things you can do. You could call your local shelter and find out what their policy is for feral cats. You could leave out food and water for them. Lastly, you could contact an organization like Alley Cats that practice TNR (trap, neuter, release) in your area. They will neuter the cats, so they don’t reproduce, and they will provide food and water. There are pluses and minuses to all of these solutions.

No matter which type of feline you find in your neighborhood, treat them with compassion and you may find a new ally even in alley cats!

 

Great Pet Links!

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

 
 
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August Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

Summer Tips for August

  • Keep your best friend hydrated this summer, have multiple water bowls inside and out. Change the water frequently to keep it fresh.
  • Limit exercise, especially in the heat of the day. Take your walks early in the morning or later in the evening.
  • If it’s over 85o leave your dog at home. They don’t need to be in a hot car or on a run with you, remember they are wearing a fur coat!
  • Use air conditioning if it’s sweltering and humid. No A/C? Keep the blinds down, windows open, and fans on.
  • Consider a haircut. Talk to your groomer about it, but most long-haired dogs will benefit from a new shorter summer hairdo!
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car, not even for a few minutes.
  • If your dog likes sunbathing be sure they move to the shade every 15 minutes so they don’t overheat! If they are in a deep snooze they may not move to a shady spot on their own.
  • Buy frozen dog treats or make your own. Take a Kong and put yogurt and nut butter in it and freeze it. Give it to your pooch for a delicious cooling treat.
  • If your dog loves water go for a swim (and read last months article about swimming).
  • Here is a twist on an old favorite – play a game of ice cube fetch.
  • Asphalt and concrete are boiling HOT on your pup’s pads (see the graphic at the end of the newsletter).
  • Look into cooling dog beds as an option if your dog can’t take the heat, or get a raised dog cot to allow for air circulation on the underside.
  • If your dog is overheated offer an ice pack or wet towels to lay on. Dogs cool down more with cool water on their feet and tummy than on their back.
  • Be extra careful with “at risk” dogs. Dogs that have short snouts, breathing issues, heart disease or are seniors have a higher chance of heat issues.

Keep your cool and have fun this summer!

 

How Much Water Should My Dog Drink?

Most dogs are hit or miss drinkers; many end up with more water on the floor than in their tummy. Did you know that over or under drinking can be a sign of a health problem? It’s a good idea to keep an eye on Fido’s water dish. Most people feel that if their pup is healthy, he will instinctively drink the correct amount of water he needs. However, that isn’t always true. Just like their people, some dogs are busy, bored, or just forget to hydrate.

Of course how much H2O your pooch needs depends on their size, diet, age, activity level, and the time of year. As a general rule, healthy dogs need about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. It’s important to keep your dog hydrated because water helps them regulate body temperature, flush toxins, keep their metabolic process functioning, and actually helps their sniffing power!

Here are a few ways to gauge your pupper’s hydration. Do their eyes look dry? Try pulling up some skin on the top of their neck, does it snap right back in place or does it stay “tented” for a few seconds? Check if their gums are sticky and dry (they should be moist and slippery). These are all signs that your dog is probably dehydrated. Check how much they are drinking by measuring how many ounces they drink each day.

Over drinking can be a sign of diabetes, Cushing’s disease, or a fever. Too much water could lead to bloat, a deadly health issue. Under drinking can indicate pancreatitis, parvo, or a bladder infection. It’s a dynamite dog parent that keeps an eye on water consumption.

How do you help your dog drink the proper amount?

Under Drinkers – Make sure there are a couple of water bowls available with clean, fresh water. When an under drinker does drink praise him and give him a treat. Up the flavor by mixing in low-sodium, chicken, beef, or bone broth with his water. If you have a dog that refuses to drink much (and you know they are not ill) start with pure low-sodium broth and over time dilute it with water. Add some water to their meals to get a little extra in them.

Over Drinkers – You could try a “lick and flow waterer” (like bunnies or gerbils use), that way you’ll know exactly how much water they drink. Additionally, it is a little harder for your pooch to access water from one of these devices, which will keep their water intake lower. Or, ration their water by measuring out the amount needed for the entire day and filling their bowl periodically. Just be sure to spread it out so you don’t give it to them all at once.

This summer keep both you and your pets hydrated, the health of the whole family depends on it!

 

How To Tell If Your Buddy Is Lonely

Dogs are highly social pack animals who thrive on companionship; they love hanging out with their family members (people or other pets in your home). Most of us 9-to-5ers feel guilty leaving Fido home alone all day, and for good reason! Pets do get lonely and bored, so keep an eye out for these behaviors.

  • Excessive barking or howling
  • Destructive behavior
  • Separation anxiety
  • Inside accidents
  • Low energy or appetite levels
  • Aggression

If your dog is alone all day take steps to keep them happy, even if you’re not met with any of the above behaviors. It’s easier to nip this problem in the bud before it gets serious. So what can you do?

Make sure your dog has an enriching environment. Supply some puzzle-type toys to keep them busy. Try a Kong toy with food and peanut butter frozen in it. Dogs and cats are very visual so keep the shades open so they can look outside and watch the world go by. Put on music or the TV. Consider getting them a friend, another dog or cat to hang out with.

Better yet, schedule a mid-day walk with us; it will break up your pet’s day; we’ll make sure they have some fun and some treats.

On your days off or in the evening be sure to schedule a hike in the woods with your buddy, a play time, or an energetic game of fetch. Remember your pet wants to spend time with you, so take them out and get them doggone tired.

Use some of these suggestions to keep your best friend entertained!

 

A Hairy Problem For Cats  🙁

We love our cats, but hairballs? Not so much. Every cat person knows more than they’d like to about the mass of wet fur cats occasionally barf up. As disconcerting as they are, know that they are a completely normal part of cat behavior.

Hairballs are a result of your cat’s healthy grooming habits. As a cat grooms herself, her rough tongue catches the dead hair in her coat, and she swallows it. Most of the time this fur goes through her digestive tract with no problems. Occasionally, some accumulates in her tummy and turn into the dreaded hairball. Of course, you know what happens next – up it comes, usually on the most beautiful rug in your home!

Some cats are more prone to them due to their fastidious grooming or long hair. Maine Coons and Persians are far more at risk than short-haired breeds. Seasonally, when cats are shedding, it happens more often.

Much of the time hairballs aren’t anything to worry about, for some cats a hairball a week is normal. However, if your cat is lethargic, uninterested in eating, has a change in potty habits, or has unproductive retching for more than a day or two, it’s time to go see the vet. It’s possible that the hairball caused a blockage along their digestive tract.

You can help manage your cat’s hairball problems by daily grooming, feeding a fiber-rich diet, and discouraging excessive grooming (cats often do this when they are bored) by playing with your cat.

Keep your cat’s hairballs from turning into a hairy situation by monitoring your feline friend closely!

 

Great Pet Links!

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

 
 
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July Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Happy Holiday!

Don’t leave your dog in your car even with the windows slightly open, it gets too hot for your dog in minutes.

Make sure inside or out, your pets have plenty of fresh water and some shade.

Keep your dog’s paws cool, asphalt is HOT.

Protect your dog from fleas and ticks.

Don’t leave your dog or cat unsupervised around a pool.

 

July Tips For Pets and People

Fireworks: We mention this every year, and it’s worth a quick repeat. Here are several ideas to get your terrified pet through fireworks season.

  • Turn on soothing music or white noise.
  • Never punish your pet for being afraid.
  • Try distracting them with a game or toy.
  • A Thunder Shirt works for many pets.
  • Cuddling often helps.
  • Don’t change your routines and stay calm. Your dog will pick up on your mood.
  • If your pets are beyond help talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medications.
  • Be sure your pet has an ID tag and is microchipped. More pets go missing on the 4th of July than any other day of the year.

Disaster Preparedness: A disaster can happen in the blink of an eye. If you prepare ahead, you’ll be ready and organized when disaster strikes.

  • Each pet needs ID tags and a microchip.
  • Prepare an emergency kit for each pet. It should contain food, medications, vet info, treats, extra leashes, poopy bags, bowls, can opener, spoon, blankets, water, litter, and crates or carriers.
  • Find pet-friendly shelters before a disaster happens.
  • Know where the closest emergency veterinary hospital is.
  • Get a red Rescue Alert Sticker for your home.

Coyotes: Did you know that coyotes live in every single state except Hawaii? They are even found in NYC! They tend to thrive around people because they eat our left out pet food, birdseed, and get into our trash. Sadly coyote attacks on our pets are on the rise and not just on tiny friends. Although it rarely happens, they have attacked people too. Here are tips to keep us all safe.

  • Don’t feed wildlife.
  • Don’t leave food out for your pets or feed them outside.
  • Don’t let your cat or dog out unattended.
  • Close gaps under your porch or deck – that area makes a perfect den for coyote moms.
  • Make your yard less attractive to coyotes. Keep bushes trimmed to reduce cover, install fences, and use motion triggered deterrents like lights or a sprinkler system.
  • If you see a coyote in your yard (and you’re not at risk), be annoying, make your yard a place they don’t want to hang out. Clap your hands, toss rocks near it, make loud noises (with an airhorn available at marine stores), shine a flashlight in their eyes, or spray them with a hose. But don’t put yourself in danger.
  • If your pet gets a coyote bite, they will require immediate veterinary attention.
  • Again, don’t leave your pet outside unattended.

Fast Food For Your Pet: Hitting the drive-thru with your dog? Then head to these places, and your pup won’t be left out.

  • Starbucks: they have a Puppuccino at all locations.
  • Tim Hortons: ask for the sugar-free Timbits.
  • Johnny Rockets: many locations have doggie hamburgers and ice cream. All locations have fresh water on request.
  • In-N-Out: their Pup Patty is a salt-free burger.
  • Shake Shack: they go above and beyond with the Pooch-ini which has vanilla custard, peanut butter, and dog biscuits. Or, ask for the Bag of Bones which contains 5 of those specially made dog biscuits.
  • Sonic: they have dog treats at the window.
  • Sprinkles: they make cupcakes for your dog.
  • Dairy Queen: they have always had a pup cup.
  • Chick-Fil-A: always has dog treats at the drive-thru, ask for them.

Although these are retail stores, it’s good to know they love pets too.

  • Saks Fifth Avenue stores: they LOVE pets and have always been very pet-friendly.
  • Apple stores: Apple is its own universe, and they love pets, rumor has it…. they have even welcomed goats!

Enjoy your summer with your pet!!

 

Your Cat Can Safely Enjoy Outdoor Time

We all know that cats enjoy the outdoors, but they really should not be allowed outside on their own. The average lifespan of a free-roaming cat is 3 years, whereas an indoor cat can live for 12+ years. Since most cats are very interested in the world outside their windows, here are some suggestions so you and your cat can safely get outdoors this season.

Leash and Harness: It’s not hard to teach a cat to walk outside with a leash and harness (don’t use a collar, they can slip off). With a kitten, if you start them early, they will get the hang of it quickly. With an older cat, it just takes patience and persistence.

Cats usually start by lying down and not moving. That’s ok, pet and treat them for giving it a shot. The next step is usually slinking or belly crawling around. Tell them how smart they are and treat them frequently, make it fun. This is going to take a little time, but don’t ever drag them or force them to walk. Eventually, they will get brave enough to move around. Use the lightest leash you can find, cats don’t like “leash drag!”

While your cat may never walk like a dog (some do!), you will be able to go out in your yard and enjoy some outdoor time with them. Never tie them up and leave them alone, that’s a recipe for disaster.

Wheeled Walker or Pet Stroller: This is an excellent way for you both to get out and get moving. Your cat is safe in an enclosed screened stroller where they can sit or lie down and watch the world go by. You get a bit of fresh air and exercise! This article goes over a number of the “best” pet strollers.

Catio: Catios have really taken off. They are the latest in porches for your cat. They protect your cat from vehicles, predators, and disease. They protect your local wildlife and birds from the hunting instincts of your cat, which means everyone wins!

A Seattle based company you’re not in their area, no problem, they have a variety of Catio plans that you can build yourself.

Catio Spaces designs and builds Catios. If Catios come in all sizes, from tiny window sized spaces to elaborate and large Catios for multiple cats (and people). Either way, your cat will love their Catio! Even better this company gives 10% of each sale to an animal welfare organization. This is a great way to give your cat outdoor time in a safe and enriching environment.

Get some fresh air with your cat and enjoy the summer weather together!

 

Not All Dogs Are Swimmers!

You may think dogs are natural swimmers, that’s not always true. Although most dogs will instinctively dog paddle in water that doesn’t mean they can actually swim or even keep their cute black noses above water!

We all know of dogs that can’t wait to dash into the lake, Labradors and Golden Retrievers are excellent examples of pups that are hard to keep out of the water. But other canines may dislike water, or worse, not have the body structure of a swimmer. Many of the dogs that don’t do well in the water are vertically challenged, top heavy, or have short, stocky legs.

Even if you own one of these breeds and they like the water, you need to keep a very close eye on them and keep them out of deep water. These breeds will have a difficult time keeping their heads above water for any length of time; their body just works against them.

The best idea is to buy them a life jacket for extra protection if you’re going to have them around water. But keep them in sight in shallow water, even with a life jacket.  Every dog that goes boating should have a life jacket on for safety, regardless of how accomplished a swimmer they are.

If you own a dog that should be a good swimmer and you want to get them comfy in the water, go slowly. Most vets will recommend they start with a life jacket. Go to a shallow spot, get them wet and give it a shot. Get in the water a bit yourself and play with them. Toss a ball in just a few feet and praise them when they go in, even just a tiny bit. Get them comfy and confident in the water. If your dog has a friend that loves water go to the beach with them, it could help your pooch get the hang of this water thing (but of course keep your eye on them both).

Water-loving breeds: Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Standard Poodle, Newfoundland, Portuguese Water Dog, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and English and Irish Setters are among the best swimmers.

Pups that are more landlubbers: Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Pug, Pekingese, Bull Terrier, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, ShihTzu, Pomeranian, Maltese, Greyhound, Dachshund, French Bulldog, Basset Hounds, and even a Boxer.

So, if your dog is a swimmer enjoy the summer but be safe, even Olympic swimmers get tired. If not, you can both sit by the shore and enjoy the breeze!

 

Great Pet Links!

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

 
 
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Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

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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https://vvpets.com/june-newsletter-2018/

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
Weakness

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.

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

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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
Fatigue
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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