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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.

  

 

February Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • It’s still doggone cold out there!Consider taking your pooch on a few, but shorter walks in this chilly weather. Put a sweater on smaller dogs or those with short coats!
  • Now Hiring! Adding Pet Sitters to Plano, TX  Richardson, TX Dallas, TX and Garland, TX.  If you know anyone that may be interested send them this link to Apply. Thank you!
 

Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Your Pet

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valentine’s Day Pet Safety Tips from the ASPCA

 

February is National Pet Dental Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2 Behaviors Your Cat Wants You To Understand

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Great Pet Links!

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

 
 
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Now Hiring We Are Looking For YOU!

 

If You Live in Richardson Plano Dallas Garland & Surrounding-Now Hiring We Are Looking For YOU! 

WE LOVE WHAT WE DO AND OUR PET SITTERS SHOW IT!

 We provide Dog Walks for dogs of all sizes and breeds and offer Cat Care as well as all other pets care. We are looking for Senior Citizens, Teachers, People over 18 and older, with or without experience but are trainable in Pet First Aid, Pet CPR, and Administering Oral and Sub-q’s. No one younger than 18 years of age can be on the job due to insurance requirements. read more

January Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Happy New Year!

  • Brrrrrr, it’s cold out there! Consider taking your pooch on a few, but shorter walks in this chilly weather. Put a sweater on smaller dogs or those with short coats!
  • Unwanted Pet Items – We are picking up unwanted pet items. If you have any unwanted pet items; food, towels, sheets, etc. and some magazine paper items for the bird sanctuary, please let us know. The next time Vital Visits cares for your pets, leave a note for your Pet Sitter to bring the unwanted pet items to the office. If we cannot use pet items for the fosters and rescues on our list, we will gladly donate to one of the shelters we work with.  
  • Job Openings – adding sitters! 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!
 

Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes in canines is a complex and chronic disease where they have either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to it. Although there is no cure for it, pets with diabetes can be managed successfully.

The cause of diabetes isn’t known. We do know that autoimmune disease, genetics, weight, pancreatitis, and some medications (like steroids) play a role in the development of the disease.

Often this disease is caught by blood work on your pet’s yearly well visit. Diabetes is usually a silent disease because many pets don’t show obvious symptoms early on. Look for the following indications:

  • Greater than normal thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of energy, weakness, or fatigue
  • Thinning or dull fur
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Frequent urination (maybe even accidents in the house)
  • Cloudy eyes

Obviously, if your buddy is showing these symptoms, it’s time for a vet visit. Don’t put it off; it’s best to catch this problem sooner rather than later.

Your vet will prescribe a treatment for your dog which almost always requires insulin injections twice a day and glucose monitoring, combined with dietary changes and exercise. Management of a newly diagnosed dog can be daunting at first, but both owners and dogs quickly adjust to this new routine. Along with the insulin, another critical factor in management is daily exercise (call us we can help).

So if your best friend is diagnosed with diabetes, don’t panic. With proper care, you’ll have many more happy, active years together!

 

Common Health Issues for Small Dogs

Small dogs have become doggone popular; they are SO big on charm and personality, cute as buttons, and easily portable! However, you may not realize that small breeds can generally be more fragile than the big guys. Before adopting a small breed, it’s good to understand some of the health risks that come with them.

Breathing issues – small dogs with short noses and flat faces (like a Pug or Boston Terrier) have a tiny more compressed airway- so don’t demand too much from them. Strenuous exercise needs to be kept to a minimum especially in hot weather.

Patellar Luxation – or more simply put, a dislocated kneecap. This problem can occur in any breed, but it’s more common in small breeds.

Intervertebral Disk Disease – this happens when the cushion between the vertebra come into contact with the spinal cord. It can cause discomfort, nerve damage, or even some paralysis.

Pancreatitis – this problem can develop when the pancreas becomes inflamed and can occur for a variety of reasons, such as obesity, infection, and sometimes just appears out of the blue.

Ectropion – this abnormality often affects short-nosed, flat-faced breeds. It causes the margin or the eyelid to roll outward which results in exposing the inner tissue of the eye and can lead to itchy eyes or frequent infections.

Oral Health Issues – Small breeds have small mouths, yet they still have 42 teeth like dogs of any size. This can lead to crooked teeth or an unusual bite and makes them a target for dental disease.

Don’t let this stop you from adopting a pint-sized pup, many have no health problems at all and if you know what to look for you can stay ahead of any petite pooch problems!

 

Introduce Your Cat to a New Friend

Last month we floated the idea of adopting a new cat to keep your current kitty company. This month we’ll go over some plans for introducing your cat to their new friend.

In an ideal world, your newcomer would be the opposite gender, fixed, smaller, and younger than your current cat. With any new addition to your pet family, you should plan to take it slowly because this is a stressful time for both cats involved. We don’t want either cat to have a bad experience or get injured.

Do these steps slowly, while gauging their tolerance to each other. Some cats may accept a newcomer in a couple of days; others may take a lot longer.

  • Before you bring the new cat home set up a separate safe room for the newcomer. They will need their own litter box, food and water bowls (be sure they are not near the litter box), and toys.
  • Scent is very important for cats. Let them smell each other indirectly by rubbing a towel on one and letting the other smell it. Do this with both cats and leave the scented towel near their food dish.
  • Expect some hissing thru the door; this is a natural and healthy behavior as they start to figure out the pecking order.
  • On day two, switch the cats around for a bit. Allow the new cat to explore the whole house and put your old cat in the new cat’s safe room for an hour or so. Do this for a couple of days, so they get a chance to inspect and smell the others’ lair.
  • After a couple of days of doing the steps above, allow the cats to sniff each other through an open door with a baby gate up. They may hiss or even ignore each other, which is OK and completely normal.
  • If you feel they are ready to mingle, let them do so under closesupervision. Ignore any hissing and growling, only intervene if an actual physical battle breaks out.
  • Make this first activity together a fun one; they will learn to associate their new friend with pleasure. Play a game with them, feed them (in separate dishes placed a bit away from each other), pet them, and offer a lot of praise.
  • If things go badly back up a few steps and take it slowly. Introductions can take from 2 hours to 6 months (most happen in a week or so).

Nine chances out of ten, your cats will soon be best buddies and get along famously, just be patient.

 

Great Pet Links!

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

 
 

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December Newsletter 2017

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Relax and enjoy the holidays!

  • Unwanted Pet Items – We are picking up unwanted pet items. If you have any unwanted pet items; food, towels, sheets, etc. and some magazine paper items for the bird sanctuary, please let us know. The next time Vital Visits cares for your pets, leave a note for your Pet Sitter to bring the unwanted pet items to the office. If we cannot use pet items for the fosters and rescues on our list, we will gladly donate to one of the shelters we work with.  
  • Job Openings – adding sitters! 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!
 

Fun Holiday Pet Gifts!

 

Cats

Feline Laser Chasing Scratching Post – This scratching post does double duty, it’s made with heavy duty sisal yarn and a felt cover base for your cats scratching pleasure, and it has a laser beam that moves across the floor in unpredictable patterns. Never ending fun!

Whale Cat Bed – From the UncommonGoods catalog, this warm and cozy maritime-inspired bed has a fringe that doubles as a toy. Machine washable and made in the USA. 

Meowbox – A monthly gift box filled with surprises for your kitty. It’s loaded with toys, treats, and a BOX! With every Meowbox sold they donate food to shelter cats.

Thermo Heated Kitty Windowsill with Fleece – This kitty sill will give your cat an enjoyable warm spot to watch the world from your window. Leave it plugged in all day, so it’s warm and snuggly for your cat. Cover removes for easy cleaning in your washer. The sill supports over 40 pounds!

Dogs

Barkbox – Welcome to a whole new world of joy with your dog! Get a monthly box packed with goodies for your best friend; themed boxes with treats, toys, and chews. They guarantee your pup will love them!

iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher – This fully automatic launcher throws standard sized tennis balls 3 different distances. Now you can have fun with your dog without straining your pitching arm!

Honest Kitchen Bone Broth –  Mix this broth with warm water and jazz up your pet’s food. This meets FDA standards for human food; it’s all natural with no GMO ingredients and all made in the USA. It comes in 3 delicious flavors; your pet will love it.

Rock’N Bowl – This unique dish is made especially for the dog that inhales their food. It’s a roly-poly puzzle that slowly releases your dog’s meal. From UncommonGoods.

Other Pets

Toss and Chew Sisal Rope Toy – A fun and safe toy for your bunny to chew, pull, and toss. From a great Etsy store, Bunny Rabbit Toys, this is handmade in the USA.

Small Animal Hideout
This adorable all wood hideout provides a place for your small pet, hamster, gerbil, or rat to have a place to hang out.  The all natural wood hideout is safe for your pet and promotes nesting and satisfies their chewing instincts.

People

PetCube Camera – Every pet owner needs one of these! This camera lets you watch and talk to your pets on your smartphone! Watch your pet in HD video with a wide angle lens, and talk with your pet using the 2-way audio! Capture and share what your pet is doing. Fun!

Dog Pillows – Unique pillows celebrating your breed’s special traits, created by Illustrator Patricia Carlin in Brooklyn, NY! Made from 100% cotton canvas.

We wish you and your fur friends a warm and happy holiday season!

 

Does your best friend have the flu?

Canine Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that affects dogs and cats. There are 2 strains of the illness, and it’s relatively new virus which means that very few pets have immunities to it.

This illness is very easily spread between pets via droplets or aerosol transmission. Your pet can catch it just by being near a sick animal who coughs, sneezes, or even barks! It tends to spread where pets congregate: the dog park, a kennel, the groomer, or doggy daycare facilities (good reasons to use a pet sitter)!

The virus can live for 48 hours on surfaces, which means that toys, water bowls, leashes, and other objects can spread this virus. The incubation period is 1 – 5 days, and it’s in this time period when a pet is most contagious. It’s also before they show any symptoms, so you can see why it’s so easily spread.

This flu can cause severe respiratory infections, so you need to look for these symptoms: a cough, nasal or eye discharge, sneezing, lethargy, fever, and lack of appetite. If your pet is showing symptoms, it’s time to go to the vet and have the severity of their flu diagnosed. Many pets also come down with secondary bacterial infections that may need treatment.

If your dog or cat is diagnosed with Canine Influenza, your vet will set up a treatment plan depending on how your pet is doing. Some may just need rest, while others may need fluids or antibiotics for secondary infections.

The good news is that there is a vaccine for dogs (not for cats). Discuss the flu situation in your area with your vet before your best friend gets ill, to help you make a decision about vaccinating your pet.

States with flu outbreaks (all but 4)

More Flu Information

 

Fun Pet Holidays in December

December 2 – National Mutt Day
December 4 – World Wildlife Conservation Day 
December 13 – National Day of the Horse
December 14 – Monkey Day

 

Are You (and your cat) Ready for a Friend?

There is no such thing as too many cats, right? Who doesn’t love purring, kitty kisses, and catnaps? There are many benefits to having 2 cats. In multiple cat households, the kitties get far more exercise, social interaction, and play. 

Most cats do have social needs. Feral cats tend to live in groups, especially when resources (food) are plentiful. House cats that live alone sometimes have behavioral problems like scratching because they are bored or sleeping all day long which can lead to a fat cat.

Before you rush out and find a friend for your cat, consider their age and personality. Have they interacted with any other cats? How do they behave when they see a cat outside?

A shy cat doesn’t want a bossy friend, an elderly cat may not be receptive to a kitten, and a high energy cat may do better with a similar personality and energy level friend. Always consider your cat’s activity level, sociability, and experience with other cats.

If you are looking for another cat, please go to your local shelter. Not only do they have a lot of cats available for adoption but they usually have a good handle on the personalities of shelter residents. They can help you make a good match for your cat.

Next month…. how to introduce your cat to a new friend.

Adding a new cat to your household may be a gift to both you and your cat.

 

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 2017

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Thanksgiving is on the horizon!

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

Thanksgiving Pet Safety

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

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

Include your pets in the festivities with these ideas:

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

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

Foods That are Poison to Animals
Thanksgiving Pet Safety

 

Uh-oh, Incoming Unknown Dog!

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

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

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

 

Fun Pet Holidays in November

Adopt a Senior Pet Month
Pet Diabetes Month
Manatee Awareness Month

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

 

Night-time Meowing!

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

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

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

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

 

Great Pet Links!

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

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

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October Newsletter 2017

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
 

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

It is officially Fall! 

  • Now Hiring Pet Sitters, Dog Walkers and Overnight Pet Sitters For weekly and weekend work! If you know anyone that may be interested send them this link to Apply. Thank you!
  • If you have Fall vacations or weekend trips planned, please schedule them as soon as you can.  It’s not too early to think about Thanksgiving!
 

6 Important Pet Tips for Halloween

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

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

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

 

Nail Trimming, Important or Not?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Fun Pet Holidays in October

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
National Pet Wellness Month

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

 

Guinea Pigs Make Great Pets!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Great Pet Links!

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

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

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