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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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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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Some Dog And Cat Speak Behaviors

 

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

Some Dog and Cat Speak Behaviors That You Can Easily Learn read more

How Do You Register A Service Dog?

 

how do you register a service dog?

How Do You Register A Service Dog?

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

March Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

It’s almost Spring, good weather ahead!

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

Wag More, Bark Less

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teach Your Dog to Bark and Hush on Command

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

Simply Noise – white noise that calms your dog

 

Clear out the Shelters!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Few Myths About Pet Food

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

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

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

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

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

People Food Your Dog Can And Can’t Eat

People Food Your Cat Can Eat

 

Great Pet Links!

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

 
 
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Does Your Pet Fear Vet Visits Five Tips That Can Help

 

remove fear of vet visitsDoes Your Pet Fear Vet Visits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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