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Diabetes in Dogs – Know the Warning Signs

Diabetes in Dogs – Know the Warning Signs

Diabetes in Dogs – Knowing the Warning Signs

For many, there is nothing worse than knowing that a pet is suffering. Especially when symptoms can be treated to ease their discomfort. Diabetes in dogs presents itself in several ways and knowing the signs is helpful. Even more, understanding why it occurs can be helpful in keeping the effects of the illness at bay.

diabetes in dogs

Diabetes mellitus, otherwise known as “sugar diabetes” is commonly found in canines.  The illness arises when dogs are unable to metabolize enough sugar. To understand this chronic disease, it’s helpful to know why a dog cannot process their food in a healthy way.

Understanding Glucose & Insulin

Diabetes in dogs occur when there is a breakdown of the process of converting food nutrients into energy.This energy is meant to power the body’s cells. To do this, your dog’s body is managing two things:

Glucose:

Glucose is essential fuel for your dog’s cells. When they digest food, their body breaks down some of the nutrients into glucose. Glucose is a type of sugar that is a vital source of energy for certain body cells and organs. The glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the blood, which then transports the glucose throughout the body.

Insulin:

Insulin is in charge of delivering the fuel created by the glucose. Meanwhile, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin into the body. Insulin acts as a “gatekeeper” telling cells to grab glucose and other nutrients out of the bloodstream to use them as fuel.

What is Diabetes in Dogs?

When a dog has diabetes it means that the glucose-insulin process is not working properly. Diabetes in dogs manifest in two way.

Insulin-deficiency Diabetes

If your dog’s body is not producing enough insulin they will start showing signs of diabetes. If the pancreas is damaged or not functioning properly it cannot produce proper amounts of insulin. Dogs with this type of diabetes require daily injections to replace the missing insulin. This is the most common type of diabetes in dogs.

Insulin-resistance Diabetes

When your dog’s pancreas is producing some insulin, but his body is not utilizing it as it should, insulin-resistant diabetes will occur. This means that cells are not responding to the insulin’s “message”. Therefore, glucose is not transferring from the blood into the cells properly. This type of diabetes occurs more often in older, obese dogs.

diabetes in dogs

Also, female dogs can develop temporary insulin resistance while in heat or pregnant.

Signs of Diabetes in Dogs

Now that you know how diabetes works, you may be wondering how to spot the disease in your pet.

Early warning signs of diabetes in dogs are:

  • Increase in appetite
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lab results showing high glucose levels in the blood and urine

More advanced symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness
  • Coma

Treating Diabetes for Your Furry Friend

Now that you know what to look for, is your dog exhibiting any of these signs? Noticing the early warning signs and acting on them could save your pet’s life.  Contact your veterinarian immediately if you feel that your pet displays any of these symptoms.  

Diabetes in pets is typically manageable with dietary control, exercise and daily insulin shots.

  • Diet – Your veterinarian will recommend the best type of diet for your diabetic dog. Usually this will includes good-quality protein, along with fiber and complex carbohydrates that help to slow absorption of glucose. Your vet may also recommend a diet with a relatively low fat content.
  • Exercise – To help avoid sudden spikes or drops in glucose levels, it is especially important that diabetic dogs maintain a moderate but consistent exercise routine.
  • Injections – Most diabetic dogs require daily shots of insulin under the skin. As the ‘Dog parent’ you will have to learn how to do this. Although it’s understandable to be apprehensive about doing this, it is not as hard as it might sound. It usually becomes a quick and easy daily routine that is not at all stressful for either dog or owner.

For More Information

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Ear Infections in Dogs

Ear Infections in Dogs

Ear Infections in Dogs

A Common Ailment for Many

Your Dog’s Ears Need Protecting from Ear Infections

Ear infections in dogs is a very common ailment.  In fact, most dogs will suffer from an ear infection at least once in their life.  As a dog owner, spotting the signs of an ear infection is helpful. Moreso, being able to prevent or treat them is even better.  

What causes ear infections in dogs?

Bacteria and/or yeast are the cause of most ear infections in dogs.  More common in puppies, ear mites are also found to be a source of ear infections.  Having your veterinarian take a sample and look under the microscope will help them to identify the root of the problem.

What are the signs of an ear infection?

Becoming aware of the signs that your pet may have an ear infection will help you to address the infection before it gets out of hand.  Typical signs of ear infection are: scratching, rubbing, shaking of the ears, unusual odor coming from the ears, and/or pain and sensitivity in the ear area.

ear infections in dogs
Head shaking can be a sign of an ear infection in your dog

How can I prevent my dog from contracting an ear infection?

Ear infections commonly occur as a result of too much moisture in the ear canal.  This may be from bathing, swimming, or grooming.  The excess moisture creates an environment ideal for bacterial and yeast growth.  One way to prevent ear infections would be to routinely clean and dry your pet’s ears after bathing, swimming, or grooming.

Ear infections may also occur as a side effect of your pet’s allergies.  These allergies may come from pollens, dust, mold, or food.  When a dog suffers from an allergic reaction, the skin inside the ear becomes inflamed and promotes the growth of bacteria and/or yeast already living inside the ear.  To prevent ear infections from occurring as a result of allergies, you must first identify the source of the allergy and then try to reduce your pet’s exposure to the particular allergen.  Also, routinely cleaning and drying the ear with ear cleaner made specifically for dogs will help to prevent bacterial and yeast growth.

How do I treat my dog’s ear infections?

If you suspect that your dog has an ear infection, the best thing to do is take him to see your veterinarian.  Special medication is typically prescribed for treating the ear infection. 

First, you will need to gently clean the infected area with a mild dog ear cleaning solution.  Pour a small amount into the ear and carefully cover it with a cotton ball. Then, rub the cotton ball softly in a circular motion.  Repeat the process for as long as your dog will allow until the cotton ball comes out fairly clean. 

Once cleaned, the ear is ready for the medication that your vet has prescribed.  Many vets warn to never use Q-tips. These may push the debris further into the ear canal. Also, never use harsh cleansers such as rubbing alcohol.  In most cases, topical ointment is all that is needed to effectively treat a dog’s ear infection.  However, in severe cases, oral antibiotics may be prescribed as well.

Considering the likelihood that your dog will eventually encounter an ear infection at some time in their life, and also considering how much pain and discomfort they may go through, it is wise to be aware of the signs of ear infections, ways to prevent them, as well as ways to treat them.  Your perky-eared pet will be very thankful!

Additional Reading

Cesar Milan offers a great article written by Henry Cerny, DVM MS on his website addressing this very topic. For additional reading, have a look.

For More Information

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Heartworm in Dogs: How to Prevent It

Heartworm in Dogs: How to Prevent It

Heartworm in Dogs

Heartworm in dogs is a deadly parasite that lives in the heart and arteries of infected animals.  It is a serious disease that can be fatal without treatment.  The good news is that prevention for your pet is simple and affordable.

heartworm in dogs

The Cause

Heartworms transfer to each animal by way of mosquitoes.  When a mosquito carries infected blood from one animal to the next, heartworm larvae enter the muscle tissue and travel to the blood vessels.   According to the ASPCA, “several hundred worms can live in one dog for five to seven years.”  They can grow to reach twelve inches in length.  They wreak havoc as they travel through arteries and vital organs, reaching their final destination of the lungs and heart.

Since mosquitoes play a key role in the contraction of this disease, animals that live in warm, humid climates (where mosquitoes are prevalent) are more susceptible.  However, heartworm disease is widespread throughout the United States and any dog is vulnerable without the aid of preventive prescriptions.

heartworm in dogs
mosquitos play a key role in spreading heartworm in dogs

Symptoms

Animals may not display symptoms of infection immediately; rather symptoms could take months or years to surface.  Typical symptoms of heartworm in dogs are coughing, vomiting, difficulty breathing, loss of weight, and fatigue.  If your pet displays any of these signs of heartworm disease, you should contact your veterinarian.

Diagnosis

A veterinarian can diagnose heartworm disease through a series of tests such as: examination, ultrasounds, and blood tests.  It is important to have your vet test your dog for heartworm annually or before beginning a new heartworm preventative prescription.

Prevention of Heartworm in Dogs

Preventing heartworm in dogs is fairly easy. Once your pet has been tested for heartworm, your vet may prescribe a preventative chewable pill which can be administered monthly.  There are also topical products available which may be applied to the skin to prevent infection.  It is recommended that you continue to administer preventative medication to your dog throughout the year to ensure his safety, considering the medication also prevents infection from other parasites.

Treatment

If your pet is diagnosed with heartworms, there are highly successful treatments.  However, the treatment process is much more difficult than prevention.  Treatment usually involves hospitalization, as well as a series of injections into the infected dog’s muscles.  Follow up care includes restrictive exercise for several weeks, as well as preventative medication to decrease the risk of future infection.

heartworm in dogs
heartworm treatments may involve hospitalization

Advancements in heartworm prevention and treatment have come a long way in recent years.  Therefore, detecting heartworm in dogs is a fairly simple routine. It involves testing your pet yearly and administering preventative medication monthly. This process may save your pet from contracting this deadly disease.

For More Information

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Alternatives to Leaving Pets in the Car

Alternatives to Leaving Pets in the Car

The temps are getting warmer again and it’s time for a friendly reminder about alternatives to leaving pets in the car alone. Did you know that in just a few minutes, your dog could be seriously injured or worse, if temps get too hot?

The temperature inside a vehicle can actually rise to higher than that of the outside. This is especially true during spring and summer months in Arizona. These temperatures, combined with the enclosed space inside the vehicle, can spell a disaster for your four legged friend. What may seem like a simple five minute trip to the store for you, could become a stuffy oven for your pet very quickly. This can result in exhaustion, sickness, and in more extreme cases death.

We want to be sure that you and Fido have a happy and healthy few months. Therefore, we’ve pulled together a few alternatives to leaving pets in the car.

5 Alternatives to Leaving Pets in the Car

1. Use the Drive Through

If there’s an option to use a drive through, take it. You and your dog can stay together in the cool conditioned air. You may even get to listen to your favorite song on the radio while you wait your turn in line.

2. Ask a Friend or a Pet Sitter Like Us

Ask a friend to tag along who can play with Fido while you take care of your errand. Of course, when a longer errand is planned ahead, a pet sitting service like TLC Pet Sitter is always here to help. We can stay and play with your dog for a predetermined amount of time in the comfort of your own home.

3. Can Your Pet Come Inside with You?

If the store allows it, and your pet is socially trained, bring them in with you.

4. Eating Outdoors Anyone?

There are several spots in and around the area that offer outdoor dining. Many of them also allow your four legged friend to join you. Ask for a bowl of water for your pup, and everyone enjoys a meal together.

5. Let Your Dog Skip the Trip

If you have to run an errand, and it’s possible and safe to leave your pet home, consider this option. It’s quite possible that Fido will use this time to catch up on his beauty rest.

All the cool comforts of home

What to Do – Just in Case

What if you see someone else’s pet left in a car? This can be scary, for you and the pet. As pet owners, we can imagine what that pet might be feeling and panic may set in. Take a deep breath and do the following as quickly as you can.

  • See if the car was left running with the air conditioning on. If not,
  • Keep an eye on the animal and call the local animal control or police department and let them know that an animal is in distress
  • Try to find the pet parent. Make note of the license plate number, color and make of the car, and alert the closest store to make an announcement.
  • In many places, it is against the law to leave a pet in a hot car.
  • If the authorities have not yet arrived and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger it may be time to act. Find a witness (or several) who share your assessment of the situation. Then, take steps to remove the animal from the hot car. Do not leave the scene until authorities arrive.

Signs of Heatstroke in Pets

Whether it is your pet, or someone else’s, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the signs of heatstroke.

leaving pets in the car
Click for better view. Know the signs of an overheated dog.

If you see heatstroke symptoms, get them out of the heat, preferably into an air-conditioned space, and then to a veterinarian immediately. If it is not your dog, or you cannot transport the dog yourself, call animal control and let them know it is an emergency. Symptoms to look for include restlessness, thick saliva, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, or lack of coordination.

We know that as pet owner’s you’ll be especially careful during these hotter months, will consider the risks, and choose not to leave them alone in a vehicle even if it’s only for a few minutes.

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

How to Stop a Dog From Barking

How to Stop a Dog From Barking

How to Stop a Dog from Barking

how to stop a dog from barking
All types of dogs can become ‘barkers’

Although it is natural for a dog to bark, some overdo it. If your dog happens to have the issue, then the first thing to do is perhaps to establish the cause of excessive barking. Once you identify the reason, it will be easy for you to find ways to stop the dog from barking. You will have to train them gradually.

Why Would a Dog Bark?

Barking is a form of vocal communication, and dogs may use it to mean many things. It all depends on the situation. Below are some of the reasons:

  • Boredom or loneliness
  • Attention seeking
  • Protecting their territory
  • Separation anxiety
  • Excitement

Once you start training the dog, remember the following tips:

  • Do not shout at your dog to stop. The dog may think that you are also barking.
  • Have consistency so that you do not confuse the dog. Do not let your dog get away with undesirable barking sometimes.
  • Keep your training positive.

How to Train Your Dog to Stop the Behavior

Treating excessive barking will require some tactics, based on the reason why your dog is barking. Some of the solutions may be:

  • Ignore the Barking

How to stop your dog from barking may include ignoring it. After you identify that the barking aims at getting your attention, you can ignore it until they stop. It may take longer than you expect, but that is the best solution you can offer. Do not even look in their direction.

We know! Ignoring your dog can be difficult.

Once they stop barking, you can reward them with a treat. If you do that several times, they will start understanding that silence rewards them with a treat. You can now lengthen the time required to remain quiet before they get the reward.

  • Keep the Dog Tired

The technique requires you to give your dog sufficient exercise – both mental and physical. Doing it every day keeps the dog tired, and they are less likely to bark when they get bored or frustrated. The exercise will depend on the dog’s age and breed and may include long walks or an activity like chasing the ball.

Get Your Pup Used to Excitement

If you notice that your dog starts barking before going for a walk or mealtime, you can change the program. If the barking starts when you are getting the leash so that you can go for a walk, return the leash.

We hope this helps you understand how to stop your dog from barking so much.

For More Information

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Getting a Puppy During COVID?

Getting a Puppy During COVID?

First Time Puppy Owner?

Getting a puppy during COVID is a great idea; as long as you are prepared.  While us humans are being relegated to staying home, we may need a little extra companionship.  And a puppy checks all the boxes to make us feel a little better about being at home.  However, if you’ve never raised a puppy before, there are a few things you’ll need to be prepared for your new family member and house mate.

Things You’ll Need when Getting a Puppy During COVID

Aside from time, love and patience, here are a few things you’ll need after getting a puppy during COVID.

Selecting a Collar

We recommend selecting a comfortable and adjustable nylon collar that remains on your pup at all times.  This type of collar can be adjusted in size as your puppy grows.  There are even a few different colors to choose from.

A Sturdy Leash

As you get started, we recommend a leather leash to ensure that you have control of your new puppy.  They are really wiggly at this young age.  Leather leashes are strong and durable, especially for a new puppy.  As he/she gets older you may need to upgrade depending on how big and strong they get.

getting a puppy during COVID
Puppies often like to play tug-of-war with their leashes

Harness – for Puppy and Adult Dog

Training your puppy to walk with a leash can be a little tricky.  One way to ease your new pal into the experience is using a harness (instead of just collar and leash).  You can find a bevy of harnesses sized just right for your puppy.

As your puppy gets older and more comfortable, upgrading to an adult dog harness will help with car rides and brisk walks.

Puppy and Dog Food

Getting a puppy during COVID from a shelter is a great plan. Many rescue groups start their puppies on Kirkland Puppy Formula dog food.  There are also several other options you may want to consider.  If getting out during COVID is an issue, Chewy.com delivers to your door.  As always, talk to your veterinarian about food quality and what’s best at each stage of your dog’s life.

Dog Bowls for Food and Water

getting a puppy during COVID
Ceramic Food Bowls Can Be Very Stylish

Choose a space in your home for your pup’s food and water bowls.  Placing them on an easy to clean floor surface is best.  These guys tend to get a little messy.  We recommend either metal or ceramic bowls.  Metal bowls are easier on maintenance but can be loud for a messy eater.  There are usually more stylish options available in a ceramic style. However, ceramic can crack and break.  We do not recommend plastic bowls.

Variety of Toys

When getting a puppy during COVID your options for social interaction may be limited.  We recommend providing several toys for your pup to keep that need to chew satisfied.  A Kong toy that can be filled with treats is great for that.  Kong offers several different shapes and sizes.

Keep in mind that just like with a baby, you’ll want to purchase puppy safe toys.  And, of course, remember that most pups like to play with balls.  We recommend the Orbee-Tuff LED ball. Tennis balls get dirty and can be messy. 

getting a puppy during COVID
Puppies love to have a variety of toys

These no-stuff toys are also a great option.  And,  West paw toys are worth the money. 

This list is not exhaustive when getting a puppy during COVID, however, it will get you started.

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Pandemic Related Separation Anxiety in Your Pet?

Pandemic Related Separation Anxiety in Your Pet?

In our new world of pandemic induced staying at home, separation anxiety is new for some pets.  Has your dog gotten used to you being home all day?  Has your cat enjoyed all the extra time she gets to lay in your lap?  If you are seeing some new behaviors in your pets as you prepare to leave your house or while you are away, read on.

separation anxiety
separation anxiety and destructive behavior

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a sign of distress in your pet.  It is triggered when a dog is upset because of separation from their pet parents, or the people they are most attached to.  Did you know that the anxiety is so extreme for some pets that they try hurt themselves trying to get out of the house?  You may notice that your pet becomes agitated as you prepare to leave the house.  They understand what is about to happen.

Some dogs will try to prevent their favorite people from leaving.  Then, right after their pet parents leave the house the separation anxiety becomes so bad they act out.  For instance, some animals will bark incessantly.  Others will begin destroying objects around the home.  Furthermore, some will urinate or defecate in the house.  Pets are not equipped the way humans are to cope with missing someone they love.

Did You Know:  Separation anxiety is often more prevalent in dogs who have spent time in a shelter?  Being surrendered by their family and left behind at a shelter leaves a lasting impression for many animals.

Treating Mild Separation Anxiety in Pets

 The goal in treating this reaction is teaching them to enjoy or at least tolerate being left alone. 

First, speak with your veterinarian to rule out any other underlying issues.  Then, take action to counter-condition the behavior.

This means focusing on developing an associate with being left alone with good things.  For instance, their favorite food or treat.  What does that mean?  Try offering your pet a treat puzzle each time you leave the house.  For example, try giving your dog a puzzle stuffed with something really tasty, like peanut butter, spray cheese, small training treats, frozen banana, or canned dog food.  Some toys can even be froze. This makes getting the treat take even more of your dog’s time. Most importantly, remove these toys as soon as you return home so that your dog only has access to them when he’s by himself.  They’ll begin to associate something fun with you getting ready to leave the house and their time alone.

separation anxiety toys
Puzzle toys help keep your pup busy while you’re away

Dogs with more severe cases of separation anxiety may require a different approach.  Speak with your vet for ideas and treatment plans.

Going Back to Work

As the world, and businesses, begin to get back to normal, your pet’s schedule is being disrupted again.  If you find yourself going back to the office one day or five days per week, this will trigger more separation anxiety episodes.

When you can, try to take your pet to work with you.  Since this is not realistic for many, hiring a pet sitter will help with their anxiety. Believe it or not, most pets suffering from separation anxiety are calmed as long as someone, even if not you, are with them. 

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Canine Social Anxiety

Canine Social Anxiety

Canine Social Anxiety

Canine social anxiety is a real problem for more dogs than you’d imagine. Therefore, if you have ever been asked to start your puppy on socialization, it is in part due to the debilitating effects of social anxiety. Dogs who were not socialized as puppies can have some degree of this anxiety. Anxiety is typically seen in a more devastating degree in dogs that have had no human contact. Dogs from puppy mills, or those with no human contact can have extreme social anxiety.

canine social anxiety

The Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety appears in dogs just like it does with humans. It can come from a fear of the unknown or even fear after a traumatic event. The source of anxiety is the same, no matter which circumstance he is under, and that source is terror.  If your dog is experiencing social anxiety, then you will know based on his behavior.

Behaviors exhibited during a canine social anxiety attack could mean a total shut down of the dog’s emotions. This is similar to that of a human dissociating, or turning off their ability to function in reality.  Basically, a dog having a total melt down with anxiety will hunker down to the ground, walk slowly, keep his tail tucked while refusing to acknowledge or obey you.  This is because he is terrified. In these situation, your pup’s mind is shutting off to protect itself emotionally from becoming more traumatized.

canine social anxiety

Other anxiety symptoms can be excessive or constant whining, barking and even growling. Your dog, when faced with his trigger will do whatever he thinks he needs to do to protect himself. As such, he could lash out at you or simply shut down. This makes your job as his caretaker far more difficult.

Help Your Dog Cope with Canine Social Anxiety

Social anxiety in dogs is not something that can be trained out of him in a day, week or even a month. It is a fighting battle that can take many months or even years with consistent help and training.  You can start your anxious dog down the path of healing his social anxiety with counter conditioning. This is the training tactic that helps change the way your dog feels about his trigger.  If your dog was human, he would go to therapy. However, since he is your furry best friend he is relying on you to help him through this.

Don’t be afraid or wait to contact a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist for help.  Sometimes, dogs just need time and patience while other times they have real work in front of them that requires professional help. When it doubt about canine social anxiety, always ask a professional!  Meanwhile, you can start by giving your dog a high value food treat whenever he sees his trigger. This may, however, only work for dogs who’s anxiety is not very severe. If your dog’s anxiety is so dire that he shuts down, you will need to start small and in a space he is comfortable and familiar with.  Never punish a dog for anxiety, no matter how frustrated you get. Remember, he is terrified! If he shuts down, take the rest of the day off. Let him then settle in the most comfortable place he knows.

Train with Kindness, Not Punishment

While some may encourage you to punish a scared dog, in reality it only makes your dog’s behaviors worse. It can even lead to him lashing out and biting you or someone else. Instead, take it slow and stay within his threshold. If you don’t push him, he will gain more confidence. Then, he will let you know when it’s time to take the next step.

Doggy Therapy

For canine social anxiety, you are your dog’s helper. He cannot call a dog trainer nor ask for your help. He does not know why he feels the way he does, and he is counting on you to help solve his problems. Do your anxious dog a favor and go slow. Always provide praise and positive reinforcement for good behavior. And never give your dog a reason to be anxious!

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Keep Your Dog Calm During Grooming

Keep Your Dog Calm During Grooming

Keep Your Dog Calm During Grooming

Do you groom your dog at home? Ever wonder how to keep your dog calm during grooming? Well, just like humans, they get nervous sometimes. And because dogs need to be properly groomed, whether at home or at a shop, these tips may be handy to know.

If you want to groom your pup yourself, being mindful of how you can make the process enjoyable for your furry friend will go a long way for them. While it’s true that your pet is naturally submissive to you as their owner, using this privilege to force your dog to be groomed can backfire.

To help your dog remain calm and enjoy their grooming we’ve put together a short list of tips for you. If you have some other suggestions, please be sure to add them in the comments for other pet owners.

Allow Your Dog to Observe the Grooming Products

Dogs are instinctively observant. A sure way to frighten them is by surprising them with grooming products they never saw or heard before.

To keep your dog calm during grooming, introduce all of your grooming products to your dog before their grooming day. If you’re using clippers, turn them on so your dog can hear how they sound. Allow them to walk away when they want to.

If you’re using other products like shampoos or rinses, have them smell these items to increase their familiarity.

Play Soothing Music

Interestingly, dogs are affected by music. Playing soothing music will help your dog focus and stay calm throughout the grooming process.

Classical music or jazz will lower your pet’s heart rate and keep them relaxed. You can even take it a step further by having lower lighting in the room to keep your canine friend at ease.

Play With Them First

A dog that is tired after playtime is less likely to fight you during grooming. Playing catch for about an hour or going for a long walk is a great way to tire out your dog and keep him or her relaxed. Similarly, it may tire you out, too.

Once they’ve calmed down, it becomes much easier to groom them without the whining or growling.

Take Period Breaks

Dogs, especially puppies, can become confused or frightened during grooming. If your pet requires extended grooming, taking short breaks mitigates stress.

When you first groom your dog, it may take several hours. However, the process will become easier when they (and you) become used to the process.

Know When to Stop

Sometimes, your dog will have had enough of grooming. And that’s ok. This is a great time to call it a day and stop.

If your dog is continually whining and growling at you, their stress levels will become too high. Force-grooming your dog and/or shouting at them to be quiet won’t make them submissive to grooming.

If your dog has had enough, stop and allow them to gather themselves and calm down.

Reward Them When Still and Calm

When your pet is still and calm, reward them for their behavior with a treat. This will teach them to remain calm during grooming and make the process more convenient for you both.

Smearing peanut butter on a spoon is a trick many people use. Allowing their dog to lick it during grooming is a distraction for them. As a result, grooming is easier.

Finally, enjoy your time together.

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby

Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby

Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby

Are you concerned about introducing your dog to your new baby?

Bringing home your new baby is an exciting time for you and your spouse! However, the experience may be a bit challenging for your dog. It’s important to understand that since your dog has been your one and only up until this point, they may become confused, jealous, or maybe even frightened.

To help eliminate these types of emotions in your dog, laying the foundation for a friendly relationship between your baby and pet is helpful.

Read on to learn some ways of properly introducing your dog to your new baby.

Your Dog May Be Jealous

It’s a well known fact that dogs are known to get jealous when they aren’t the center of attention anymore. This can be unavoidable since you will be spending a great deal of time with your infant instead of your dog. Sorry, Fido!

introducing your dog to your new baby

While jealousy is an undesirable reaction from your pup, accepting that your dog is just missing your attention may help you cope.

Making Time for Your Dog

When you do have free time, try to use it to play with your pet. Allowing your dog to get bored, especially during this transition time, can lead to destructive behavior. In some cases, it may even lead to uncharacteristic aggression. Therefore, creating a daily play-time routine that your pup can anticipate will help.

Keeping this routine consistent will help mitigate those jealous moments your dog is feeling.

Starting Slow

While you may be over the moon to share your new bundle of joy with Fido, try to start slowly with your introductions. Babies are small and can move suddenly. One of the last things you want is for your baby to surprise your dog with a flailing arm or kicking leg. Dogs are very inquisitive creatures, and baby and pup will need to be monitored during at least the first few weeks of together time.

Tips for Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby

  1. When your baby comes home, greet your dog alone so that it doesn’t get too excited and jump on your baby. Afterward, have your dog adjust to the sight and smells of your baby while your pup is on a leash.
  2. Acclimate your dog to the smell of your baby, via a blanket or clothing. Also, introduce your pet to the smells of baby powder, lotion, etc.
  3. After a couple of days, remove the leash from your dog and monitor them closely as they observe your baby. Make sure to watch out for signs of aggression such as growling, intense stares, or baring of teeth.

Create Boundaries for Your Dog

Once your dog becomes used to your new baby, it’s time to create boundaries. Ideally, you should be able to command your dog to go to their “quiet place”. This is important if you are trying to perform a task your dog doesn’t understand, such as changing your baby’s diaper or feeding them.

If you do not already have one, purchase a crate, bed, or designate a quiet place for your dog to go to so they won’t disturb you and your baby when you need time alone.

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Training a Puppy – Part II

Training a Puppy – Part II

Training a Puppy

Part 2

Congratulations on making it to the second part of the article series “Training a Puppy”. In the first part, we discussed a few important training tips that included helping your puppy recognize their name, giving them a new collar, and teaching them when they should go outside. Now that you are familiar with some basic training tips, it’s time to learn how you can make your puppy more obedient. Obedience is key to having a happy pet/owner relationship. Here, we’ll dive into some helpful ways you can teach your puppy to understand and obey your commands.

Learning How to Crate your Puppy

Many dog owners reject the idea of using crates for their furry friends. However, professional trainers and veterinarians have long accepted crating as one of the quickest and least stressful ways to reinforce desirable behavior in dogs. Dogs are pack animals, and they instinctively have an urge to possess their own special place or “den”.

training a puppy

Though, it’s important to never take advantage of this instinct by forcing your puppy inside their crate as a form of punishment. Instead, place a soft blanket inside the crate and leave the door open as you introduce your puppy to their new den. This will allow them to grow comfortable with their crate and come and go at their leisure. Soon, you’ll be able to leave your puppy in the crate if you anticipate being away for a few hours.

Remember that puppies should only be left in a crate for a maximum of 3-4 hours. Puppies can’t hold their bladders very well, and being in their crates for too long can cause depression and anxiety.

Keeping Communication Consistent

Although they are young, puppies are very smart and are capable of molding their own behavior to make you happy. The only way your puppy will do this is if you apply consistent communication between their actions and your reaction.

If your puppy does something right or desirable, praise them enthusiastically and reward them. If they do something wrong, make it clear that you are not happy by giving them a firm “no” and praise them when they correct their behavior.

For example, if you don’t want your puppy on your furniture say “no” loudly and guide them off every time they climb on. Then, praise them when they climb unto the floor. Puppies are great learners and understand your body language, but it can take them a few tries to fully understand when you don’t appreciate their behavior.

Maintaining consistent communication makes it easier for them to understand what you’re saying and apply your commands in the future.

Correcting Puppy Mistakes

While puppies are brilliant learners, they sometimes have an urge to do things that are clearly not okay, such as biting and destroying furniture. It’s helpful to remember that puppies aren’t spiteful. If they are performing a destructive act, they probably got the idea that it was acceptable.

To eliminate this type of behavior, you’ll have to catch your puppy in the act and immediately correct it. For example, the incorrect approach to discipline your puppy is not to yell at them or crate them if you’ve discovered a severely damaged pillow under your sofa. That’s because dogs can’t connect a punishment to an action that may have happened a few hours ago.

Instead, you must catch your puppy performing a bad deed in the act. Just like we’ve mentioned above, remember to give them a firm “no” and praise them abundantly for responding to your command.

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

July 4th Pet Safety

July 4th Pet Safety

Keeping Your Pets Safe on July 4th

Fireworks and dogs

This fun and festive holiday will be here again before we know it. A July 4th of several years ago is a memorable one for me. 

I had just finished up a cook-out with the family and was on my way to visit a client’s pets in Gilbert, Arizona.  I really love this client’s pets!  They are absolute sweethearts. 

July 4th pet safety

As such, I was totally shocked when I opened one of the dog’s kennels and she growled and nipped at me!  This was completely out of character for her. 

The client had warned me of her dog’s fear of thunderstorms but the weather was clear that day.  Something else was bothering her.  Then I realized; she was frightened from the sounds of fireworks.  The poor girl was too afraid to even go outside.

I know there are plenty of pet owners and pet sitters who can relate to this story. 

Safety Tips

To help make this 4th a little easier for some of you, we’ve put together these tips for July 4th Pet Safety:

1) Keep your pets in a safe, controlled environment away from fireworks on the 4th of July. 

The pet owner in the story above did exactly the right thing by keeping her pets safe in kennels inside the house during the firework festivities.  Don’t make the mistake of taking your pet out to enjoy the holiday fun if fireworks are on the agenda.  Loud noises and large groups of people can make your pet anxious, afraid, and/or nervous. When animals are in this state of mind, they can become aggressive.

July 4th pet safety
Keep your dog safe in a kennel during the fireworks

2) Keep the alcoholic drinks, fireworks, matches, lighter fluid, and glow sticks out of reach. 

These items can make for a very enjoyable 4th of July for you, but if your pet ingests any of them, they could be toxic.

3) Watch your pets around the food table

Keep an eye on your pet around the food table. This is especially true if any of the following items are included: chicken bones, onions, chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins, and salt.  These foods could be dangerous to your pet if eaten.

4) If you plan to be out of town during the 4th of July holiday, make sure your pet sitter knows that your pet is afraid of loud noises. 

Discuss a plan to make your pet feel safe and secure away from the fireworks.  Some animals respond well to treats made specifically for stress. Other pets prefer what’s called a thunder jacket. Both of these can be found at your local pet supply store.

5) More pets run away on this day than any other

Sadly, many pets make a mad dash for any open door or gate at the sound of fireworks. Some animals may never make their way back home for a number of reasons.

To keep your pet safe, and at home, watch them during fireworks. If you have a fenced yard, ensure that the gates are properly secured. If your home has a screened porch, keep your pet inside to resist the temptation of jumping through the screens. Having a party with people coming in and out? Keep your dog in a room with the door closed or in a kennel. As always with your pet, safety first.


Please keep your pet’s safety and well-being in mind this 4th of July holiday.  And, since we’re in the Gilbert, AZ area, we hope you and your pets enjoy the local fireworks festivities this year!

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.