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(480) 608-5885 / TLC House & Pet Sitting Service
Keep Your Critters Calm: The Importance of a 4th of July Care Plan

Keep Your Critters Calm: The Importance of a 4th of July Care Plan

The concept of dog’s anxiety about thunderstorm, fireworks and loud noises. Pet’s mental health, excessive emotionality, feelings of insecurity.

As the 4th of July approaches, it’s time to start thinking about more than just fireworks and BBQs. For pet owners, this holiday can be particularly stressful for our furry friends. Loud noises and bright lights can cause anxiety and fear, leading to pets hiding or even running away. At TLC House & Pet Sitting, we understand the importance of having a care plan in place to ensure your pets stay safe and calm during the festivities. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why having a care plan is essential, the benefits of CBD treatment for anxious pets, and why scheduling your pet care needs well in advance is crucial during this busy holiday season.


The Importance of a Care Plan

The 4th of July can be a chaotic time for pets, with fireworks going off throughout the day and into the night. Without a proper care plan in place, pets can become stressed and anxious, leading to unwanted behaviors such as hiding, pacing, or even running away. By having a care plan in place, you can help minimize your pet’s stress and ensure their safety during this potentially frightening time.


CBD Treatment for Anxious Pets

Dog with a collar and a leash licking a pipette with CBD oil held out by a female hand

CBD (cannabidiol) has gained popularity in recent years for its potential benefits in reducing anxiety and stress in pets. Many pet owners have found success in using CBD products to help calm their furry friends during loud events like fireworks. At TLC House & Pet Sitting, we offer CBD treatment options for anxious pets to help them stay relaxed and comfortable throughout the 4th of July festivities. Our CBD products are safe, natural, and can be tailored to your pet’s specific needs. A brand we have found we enjoy and trust is Conklin & Chemist.


Scheduling Your Pet Care Needs

It’s no secret that the 4th of July is one of our busiest times of the year. With pet owners traveling or attending events, our services are in high demand. That’s why we encourage all our customers to schedule their pet care needs well in advance. By booking early, you can ensure that your pet receives the care and attention they deserve, even during this busy holiday period.

As you prepare for the 4th of July celebrations, don’t forget to make a care plan for your furry companions. Whether it’s utilizing CBD treatment to keep them calm or scheduling pet care services with TLC House & Pet Sitting, taking proactive steps can help ensure a safe and stress-free holiday for your pets.

Reach out to us today to discuss your pet care needs and schedule your services well in advance. Let’s make this 4th of July a happy and worry-free time for both you and your beloved critters.

Essential Puppy Care Tips: From House Training to Socialization

Essential Puppy Care Tips: From House Training to Socialization

Puppy care tips: A cute black Staffordshire bull terrier puppy with a red collar and red leash, standing on three legs, being trained by a man in jeans and trainers holding a treat for the puppy.
Puppy care tips: A cute black Staffordshire bull terrier puppy with a red collar and red leash, standing on three legs, being trained by a man in jeans and trainers holding a treat for the puppy.

Welcoming a new puppy into your home brings a mix of joy, cuddles, and a bit of a learning curve. To help your new furry family member thrive, we’ve updated our essential care tips to include everything from bladder control and feeding schedules to crate training, exercise pens, and the importance of vaccinations and social skills.

Bladder Control & Water Intake

A puppy’s age can help you gauge how long they can hold their bladder: one hour for every month of age. To aid in nighttime house training, consider limiting water intake before bedtime to help reduce the need for middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks. Always ensure your puppy stays hydrated throughout the day, especially after play and exercise.

Feeding Your Growing Puppy

Feed your growing puppy every three hours to support their rapid development. Consistent feeding times not only help with house training but also establish a routine, making your puppy feel secure and well-cared for.

Crate Training

Puppy care tips: Boston Terrier puppy in a cage, crate with the door open. Her bed and blanket, plus toys and bowls can be see in the cage.
Puppy care tips: Boston Terrier puppy in a cage, crate with the door open. Her bed and blanket, plus toys and bowls can be see in the cage.

Crate training offers your puppy a safe, cozy place of their own. Start with short intervals and gradually increase the time they spend in their crate. Ensure it’s always a positive space with plenty of treats, comfort, and never used as a punishment.

Exercise Pens (X Pens) – Your Puppy’s Play Area:

An X Pen provides a secure area for your puppy to play and explore safely. It’s perfect for when direct supervision isn’t possible. To keep your puppy engaged and stimulated, fill the pen with toys and a comfy bed. Under this section, it’s important to note that TLC Pet Sitting Service can visit your home to help exercise your puppy, ensuring they are well-rested and happy when you return.

Puppy Care Tips for Social Skills & Training

Socialization and training are key to raising a well-rounded pup. Introduce your puppy to new experiences in a controlled manner. Basic training sessions, kept to just a few minutes each time you play, can significantly impact their learning and behavior. Remember, direct interaction with other dogs should wait until after they’re fully vaccinated to protect against diseases like parvovirus.

Vaccinations: A Shield for Your Puppy’s Health

Vaccinations are crucial for your puppy’s health, starting around 6-8 weeks of age with boosters every 3-4 weeks until about 4 months old. This schedule ensures they’re protected against common canine diseases and ready to socialize safely with other dogs.

Raising a puppy is an enriching experience that requires patience, consistency, and love. By following these updated care tips, including TLC’s in-home exercise services, you’re ensuring your puppy grows into a healthy, happy, and well-behaved dog. Adapt these guidelines to fit your puppy’s unique needs and personality for the best results.

Have questions or need personalized advice for your puppy? Contact us! We’re here to support your journey to becoming the best puppy parent possible.

Keeping Your Pets Safe Around Holiday Decorations

Keeping Your Pets Safe Around Holiday Decorations

The holiday season is a time of joy, warmth, and festive decorations. However, for pet owners, it also brings a unique set of challenges to ensure the safety of our furry family members. From glittering lights to enticing ornaments, holiday decor can pose risks to curious pets. Here’s how you can keep your pets safe and enjoy a pet-friendly holiday season.

Kitty's Chaotic Christmas Playtime - Keep Your Pets Safe Around Holiday Decorations

1. Beware of Toxic Plants

Many traditional holiday plants like poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly are toxic to pets. Symptoms of poisoning can range from mild nausea to severe illness. Opt for pet-safe plants or artificial replicas to keep your home festive and safe.

2. Secure Your Christmas Tree

A toppling tree can injure a playful pet. Secure your Christmas tree to prevent it from falling. Consider a smaller tree if you have particularly active pets.

3. Avoid Tinsel and Ribbons

Tinsel, while attractive, can be a choking hazard for pets, especially cats. Ingesting tinsel can lead to intestinal blockage. Similarly, ribbons and strings from gifts can be dangerous if swallowed.

4. Be Mindful of Lights and Candles

Chewing on electrical cords can lead to electric shock. Keep cords out of reach or use cord protectors. Never leave lit candles unattended as pets can knock them over, creating a fire hazard.

5. Choose Pet-Friendly Ornaments

Use shatterproof ornaments to avoid injuries from broken glass. Place delicate and potentially dangerous ornaments out of your pet’s reach.

6. Monitor Edible Decorations

Chocolate and other holiday treats can be toxic to pets. Keep edible decorations and gifts out of your pet’s reach.

7. Create a Safe Space

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be overwhelming for pets. Provide a quiet, comfortable space where your pet can retreat from the noise and activity.

Looking for more info? Here’s another post with more information from your friends at TLC Home & Pet Sitters: LINK >

With these precautions, you can create a pet-friendly holiday environment. Remember, the best gift you can give your pets this season is their health and safety. Happy Holidays!

Why Pets Feel Like Family

Why Pets Feel Like Family

The Emotional Bond: Understanding the Psychology of Why Pets Feel Like Family

Have you ever wondered why your pet feels like an integral part of your family? Why the mere act of coming home to a wagging tail or the soothing purrs of your cat can instantly lift your spirits? You’re not alone in this sentiment. For many people, pets are not just animals residing in the home; they are beloved family members. This article delves into the psychology of why pets feel like family and the emotional bonds that tie humans and animals together.

The Oxytocin Connection

One of the key chemicals responsible for emotional bonding between humans and pets is oxytocin. Often referred to as the “love hormone,” oxytocin is released during moments of close interaction, such as hugging or cuddling. Studies have shown that both humans and pets experience an increase in oxytocin levels during shared moments of affection, deepening the emotional connection and reinforcing why pets feel like family.

why pets feel like family

Emotional Support and Well-being

Pets offer a unique form of emotional support that’s different from human interactions. Their non-judgmental presence, loyalty, and unconditional love make them exceptional companions in times of stress, loneliness, or anxiety. For people who treat their pets as family members, this emotional connection can be as fulfilling as any human relationship, further highlighting why pets feel like family.

The Role of Routine and Shared Experiences

Another reason pets often feel like family members is the shared daily routine and experiences. Whether it’s the morning walks, feeding schedules, or playtime, these repetitive interactions create a sense of stability and belonging, not just for the pet but also for the human caregivers. Over time, these shared activities cement the perception of pets as integral family members.

why pets feel like family

Investing in Quality Care

Recognizing why pets feel like family often leads us to invest more in their well-being. Just as you wouldn’t compromise on healthcare or education for a human family member, the same ethos applies to pets. High-quality food, regular vet check-ups, and even specialized services like professional pet sitting contribute to the overall health and happiness of your pet. These items are further consolidating their status as a family member.

The Sociocultural Aspect

Finally, societal norms and values play a significant role in why pets feel like family. Many cultures view pet ownership not merely as an individual choice but as a form of extended kinship. This notion has been reinforced by media, literature, and social narratives. That is what is making the idea of pets as family members a widely accepted and cherished concept.

Conclusion

The emotional bond between humans and pets is not just anecdotal; it’s backed by science, psychological insights, and sociocultural factors. From the release of oxytocin to the shared daily routines, multiple elements contribute to why pets feel like family. As our understanding of this emotional bond deepens, it further solidifies the importance of investing in quality care and time for our furry, feathered, or scaled family members.

For More Information

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

Walking Your Dog Safely in Hot Weather

Walking Your Dog Safely in Hot Weather

Is there such a thing as walking your dog safely in the scorching embrace of an Arizona summer? Only sometimes.  Ensuring your furry friend’s well-being during these intermittent walks becomes so much more important. TLC House & Pet Sitting is here to guide you through the essentials for keeping your dog safe on those oh-so-warm days.

Understanding the Impact of Heat on Your Dog

Unlike their wild ancestors, modern dogs live indoors and are more vulnerable to the effects of high temperatures. Their paw pads are less resilient, and they struggle to adapt as swiftly to warmer weather. Thus, it’s your job as a pet parent to recognize the signs of overheating in dogs and be proactive in ensuring their comfort.

walking your dog in hot weather

Temperature Thresholds for Walks

Determining the ideal temperature for walks is important and maybe a little confusing. At TLC Pet & House Sitting, we have a quick test.  If you can’t put your hand on the ground, then it’s too hot to walk your dog. Therefore, we only walk dogs early morning or after the sun goes down.

Even more, at temperatures surpassing 89°F, dogs are at risk of heat stroke, and any reading of 90°F or higher should prompt you to avoid outdoor activity. For several dogs, even temperatures ranging from 70°-77°F can prove excessively warm. High humidity also plays a significant role; if the sum of temperature (in °F) and humidity crosses 150, outdoor exercise should be avoided altogether.

Where we are in Arizona for example, the climate is often very hot and moderately humid in August. Temperatures are up to 106°F on the day of writing this with a humidity of 41%. On average, Phoenix residents (and most cities surrounding)  can expect to experience 86°F or higher throughout the month.

Factors Affecting Your Dog’s Heat Tolerance

Your dog’s response to heat hinges on various factors, including:

Breed Considerations

Brachycephalic breeds, characterized by flat faces, such as English Bulldogs, Shih-Tzus, and Pugs, are more prone to heatstroke due to their impaired ability to cool down through panting. Walking these kinds of dogs in hot weather should be approached with caution.

Body Type, Size, and Weight

Smaller dogs possess a higher surface-area-to-mass ratio, allowing them to dissipate heat more effectively than larger counterparts. Overweight dogs are more susceptible to overheating than lean ones.

Age and Health

Senior dogs and puppies struggle to regulate body temperature efficiently, and their sensitivity to heat is heightened. Preexisting health conditions, particularly heart or respiratory ailments, can amplify vulnerability.

Coat Characteristics

Coat thickness and color also influence heat tolerance. Double-coated breeds like Golden Retrievers are prone to overheating, while dark-colored dogs absorb more heat from sunlight.

Don’t Rely on a Fan

Did you know that dogs sweat primarily through their feet?  Pets respond differently to heat than people do.  And while we love a cool breeze from a fan, they don’t do the job of cooling off pets as effectively as they do humans.

Acclimation and Humidity

Walking your dog in hot weather may be more difficult if your pup isn’t used to those conditions. The general temperature range your dog is accustomed to matters, along with the humidity level. When combined with these factors, you can refer to the following chart for guidance.  Remember to do the touch-the-street/sidewalk test first:

Temp °F           Recommendation

100°                 It’s too hot to walk your dog (and yourself, too, probably)

90°                   Dangerous heat – use caution (go outside for potty breaks only)

80°-89°            Modify or skip the walk (early mornings or after sun goes down)

70°-79°            Low risk of overheating (depending on the pup, you may need to keep it short)

60°-69°            Enjoy your walk!

Ensuring Safe Paw Patrols: Checking Pavement Temperature

While ambient temperatures might seem manageable, the pavement’s heat can be significantly higher, causing potential harm to your pup’s paws. On sunny days, surfaces like asphalt, concrete, or sand can be 40°-60°F hotter than the air temperature. Stop and think about that for a minute. That’s super-duper hot.  To test the pavement’s suitability for your dog, place your hand (or bare foot) on a sunny spot – if you can’t endure it for 10 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog.

Recognizing and Preventing Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a dire concern during hot weather. Dogs are more heat-sensitive than humans, so identifying symptoms early is crucial:

  • Fast panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Gums turning red, blue, or bruised
  • Dry or sticky gums
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
walking your dog in hot weather

If your dog displays these signs, act promptly. Call or take them to the vet and initiate cooling measures. Move your dog into the shade, apply cool (not cold) water, and avoid laying wet towels. Offer water, but don’t force it. A prompt response can avert severe consequences.

Navigating Hot Days: Safe Walking Strategies

To ensure your dog enjoys walks even on scorching days, consider these strategies:

  • Time Your Walks: Opt for early mornings or evenings when temperatures are cooler.
  • Plan Your Route: Choose shaded paths and grassy areas instead of hot pavements.
  • Adjust Your Pace: Slow down, especially if you have a flat-faced breed, to avoid overexertion.
  • Dress for Success: Utilize dog boots and cooling vests to enhance your dog’s comfort.
  • Hydration Matters: Carry water and a collapsible bowl for your dog to drink.
  • Alternative Activities: Swimming or indoor games can provide exercise without excessive heat exposure.

The Wisdom of Staying Healthy

Not unlike us humans, exercise is easier when we are healthier to begin with.  If you’re walking your dog in hot weather, they’ll appreciate all the help they can get. If you’d like to help your pup be able to have a pep in their step, consider their overall diet. Reader’s Digest put together ‘The Very Best Diet for Dogs, According to Vets’.  The article quotes a veterinarian as saying “As with people, when dogs eat highly processed foods, we see an increase in chronic inflammation which can show up as arthritis, chronic elevation of liver enzymes, immune thyroiditis, and inflammatory bowel disease, among others.”

Walking Your Dog in Hot Weather: Conclusion

When temperatures surge in Arizona (or anywhere, for that matter), ensuring your dog’s safety becomes an important mission. Armed with the knowledge to read your pup’s temperature cues, assess pavement conditions, and recognize signs of heatstroke, you’re equipped to provide the best care for your furry friend. Remember, a few simple adjustments can make all the difference in ensuring enjoyable walks even on the hottest days.

For More Information

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

Understanding and Treating Yeast Infections in Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding and Treating Yeast Infections in Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide

It’s not uncommon for our beloved canine companions to encounter health hitches from time to time. Among these, yeast infections in dogs stand out due to their recurrence and discomfort they cause to our pets. Effectively treating yeast infections, seeing symptoms, and learning how to understand and prevent them are crucial for keeping our pets’ overall well-being.

The Nature of Canine Yeast Infections

Yeast infections in dogs, primarily caused by the yeast species Candida, are a type of fungal infection. These yeasts naturally reside on the skin and ears of dogs without causing issues. However, when they multiply uncontrollably, usually due to a compromised immune system or hormonal imbalance, they can lead to an infection.

yeast infections in dogs

Symptoms of Yeast Infections in Dogs

The manifestation of yeast infections can vary. However, the most common symptoms include:

  • Persistent scratching: Dogs may exhibit more than usual scratching, biting, or licking of the affected area.
  • Changes in skin color and texture: The skin may become thick, greasy, or take on a reddish or brownish discoloration.
  • Unpleasant odor: An unusual musty smell is commonly associated with yeast infections.
  • Head shaking or tilting: If the infection is in the ears, dogs often shake their heads or tilt them to one side.

Diagnosis of Canine Yeast Infections

A proper diagnosis from a qualified veterinarian is crucial for the effective treatment of yeast infections. Veterinarians typically diagnose yeast infections in dogs through a combination of physical examination, symptom evaluation, cytology, and culture tests.

Treatment of Yeast Infections for Your Dog

Once diagnosed, the treatment of yeast infections in dogs usually involves the following:

  • Topical Treatments: Antifungal shampoos, creams, and sprays are often prescribed for local application.
  • Oral Medication: In severe or systemic cases, antifungal drugs may be administered orally.
  • Ear Drops: For yeast infections in dogs’ ears, specific antifungal ear drops are generally recommended.

Prevention Strategies for Yeast Infections in Dogs

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some strategies:

  • Maintain cleanliness: Regularly bathing dogs with vet-recommended shampoos can prevent the overgrowth of yeast.
  • Healthy diet: A well-balanced diet that supports a strong immune system can help keep yeast infections at bay.
  • Regular check-ups: Routine veterinary check-ups can catch early signs of yeast overgrowth and prevent infections.
yeast infections in dogs

Concluding Thoughts

Through understanding and attentiveness, we can safeguard our canine friends from the discomfort of yeast infections. While yeast infections in dogs can be troubling, with proper care, diagnosis, treatment, and preventative measures, they are entirely manageable.

Remember, when it comes to the health of your pet, always consult with a professional. If you notice symptoms that may show a yeast infection, schedule a visit to your vet as soon as possible.

The bond we share with our dogs is amazing. Let’s do our part to keep them healthy, happy, and infection-free!

For More Information

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

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 House & Pet Sitting. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC House & Pet Sitting. 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 House & Pet Sitting. 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 House & Pet Sitting. 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.

For More Information

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

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC House & Pet Sitting. 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.

For More Information

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

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