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(480) 608-5885 / TLC House & Pet Sitting Service
Importance of Cat Litter Scooping

Importance of Cat Litter Scooping

Cat litter scooping on the regular is more important than you might think.

As you know, your cat is a marvel of consistency. She sleeps in the same place, eats the same amount of food and drinks the same amount of water. Every day. Therefore, this love of routine can make it easy to spot early indicators about your cat’s health. And those telltale signs are often waiting in your cat’s litter box.

We Scoop for Many Reasons

 TLC offers regular litter box cleaning as part of our service. But cat litter scooping is more than just changing the litter. Our sitters are trained to monitor the scoops they make each visit. Among the things we look for are color (signs of blood in the urine or stool), odor (anything unusual), size of the urine clump (urinary tract concerns) and parasites in the stool.

 Not all the clues reside inside the litter box. If there are not the expected number of urine clumps, our sitters can alert you to this change of behavior. Peeing outside the box can be an expression of misdirected aggression (read this recent article) by your cat. Somehow her environment is not to her liking and you can take steps to correct the situation.

 An abnormal litter box does not automatically mean trouble. However, regular monitoring is a sure way help prevent trouble from brewing and keeping your cat happy.

Cat Litter Scooping Made Easy

cat litter scooping

If you’re like us, finding new gadgets to help us care for our pets is a fun pastime. Have you seen this “Litter-Robot“? It may be a little pricey for some of us. However, there are some equally impressive and less-expensive versions here. And, of course, remember the ever-popular manual cat litter scooper.

Top Reasons Why A Pet Sitter is Better Than A Boarding Kennel

Top Reasons Why A Pet Sitter is Better Than A Boarding Kennel

No one likes to leave behind a beloved family member when they are away from home. For what seemed like “forever’, the only choice pet owners had to care for their animals during a vacation was a boarding kennel or cattery. Now, you’ll find professional pet sitters available to provide care and companionship while you’re away.

boarding kennel

What’s the Difference Between Boarding and Pet Sitting

There are several distinct differences between professional pet sitting and a boarding kennel. The differences that matter most are the effect they have on your pet and you.

Routine

We all get a bit cranky when our daily routine is thrown out of whack. Animals are no different. A pet sitter will provide feeding, exercise and bathroom breaks on the schedule you have established for your pet. At a kennel these needs are met on the staff’s schedule.

Reduce Stress

Keeping a regular schedule and same diet is especially important for any pet, especially a puppy or kitten.

Same Environment

Staying in your pet’s familiar home environment will also reduce any stress on your pet during your absence. And who doesn’t prefer sleeping in his or her own bed – or couch, as your dog prefers?

Personal Attention

Even the best-staffed boarding kennels cannot deliver the same one-on-one attention as a professional pet sitter provides to your dog or cat. A pet sitter is also better equipped to handle special needs. At TLC House & Pet Sitting we are also available to stay with your pet through the night. 

Our Pet Sitters Offer A Lot of Personal Attention and TLC.

Multiple Pets

According to statistics from the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association, half of all pet owners live with both cats and dogs in their homes. Throw in fish and birds and reptiles and you have a menagerie that no boarding facility can handle.

Diseases

The close living quarters of a kennel promotes the spread of contagious diseases (e.g., think Kennel Cough). You may not want to expose your pet, especially vulnerable young animals, to these conditions. Or you may not want to give your dog the vaccinations that some facilities require. 

Communication

There is no substitute for peace of mind when you are away from your pet. At TLC House & Pet Sitting, lines of communication are always open to your pet sitter with voicemail, texting and daily notes.

Other Services

During a home visit a pet sitter can gather mail, water plants and generally keep your house looking “lived-in” while you are away.

boarding kennel

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.

Holiday Foods for Pets

Holiday Foods for Pets

Holiday Foods for Pets

What’s Safe and What to Avoid

holiday foods for pets

With the holidays rapidly approaching, you may be doing a lot of menu planning.  Many of the holidays have traditions surrounding food, and none more so than Thanksgiving. You may be already aware that there are many foods unsafe for your pet. However, this list will show you that it is possible to prepare holiday food for pets that is delicious and safe for them.

Turkey

What would a Thanksgiving meal be without turkey? Luckily, the meat from this bird is safe for your pets as long as it is thoroughly cook. It should also be given without the skin. Of course, never give your dog the bones from the turkey. Bones can splinter easily becoming sharp weapons in your dog’s delicate digestive tract. In order to qualify as a good Thanksgiving food for pets, the turkey meat should be unseasoned.

Sweet Potatoes

There are several traditional Thanksgiving vegetables that your pets can enjoy with you.  Sweet potatoes are often a pup favorite.  They are rich in many nutrients, such as Vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium.  Most dogs will gladly chow down on some raw or dried pieces of sweet potato. You do not want to give your dog the canned kind or any that have been baked with marshmallows.  Most marshmallows contain Xylitol, which is toxic for dogs.  Your pets also do not need the additional sugar that is often found in sweet potato casseroles.  

Want to make a home made treat for your pup for the holidays?  Enjoy this recipe for a DIY Sweet Potato Dog Chew.

Green Beans

Another great veggie to share with your pets is green beans. They are high in both fiber and Vitamins C and K. The trick here is to feed them to your dog while you are cooking up your green bean casserole. Your pet will much prefer the raw, crisp version over the finished product. If your secret green bean casserole recipe involves onions or mushrooms, it is even more important to not let your dog sample it, as these ingredients are toxic to them.

Pumpkin

This fall classic is often one of the first foods to make an appearance at the holidays. That being said, feeding your animals leftover pumpkins from Halloween is not advised and could make your pet very ill.  You can, however, feed them pure fresh pumpkin. This holiday food for pets can be either raw or cooked, but it should not contain any added sugar or spices.

Bread

The bread debate; should I or shouldn’t I?  Dogs are not going to get much nutritional value out of bread (just like us).  Feeding your pup small servings of white bread or dinner rolls from time to time won’t hurt them.  It won’t help them either.  Bread is a filler food and doesn’t contain any extra nutrients that they are not already getting from their daily dog food diet.  There can be significant health risks, however, from bread dough or not fully cooked bread.  The yeast in many breads, if uncooked, will continue to rise once it enters your pets tummy.  Read more about bread and your dog here from the American Kennel Club.

Avoid Feeding Your Pets These Foods, Any Time of Year

Walnuts and Raisins

Many people know that raisins and grapes are dangerous for dogs.  These mini treats pack a punch to your pups kidneys. Avoid them always.  What many people do not know is that several types of nuts, in particular walnuts, are also very dangerous.  For more information on nuts and pets, reading this article will help.

Mac and Cheese

This holiday food for pets should be approached with caution. There is a debate on mac and cheese in the pet community. Dogs and cats do not need a daily dose of dairy products.  But some sure do love it!  However, some pets, even cats, can become intolerant of dairy products.  This is especially true in older pets.  In these cases, even small amounts of mac and cheese could result in gas, vomiting, and diarrhea.  You know your pet best, if their tummies can handle it, keep the treat to one small serving.  

Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Onion

Garlic and onion can make your dogs very ill. Even the powdered versions can wreak havoc on your pets body.  Further, raw potatoes should be avoided as they contain an element toxic to animals; solanine.  If your pet loves potatoes, be sure that they are fully baked or boiled (and cooled) before serving to your furry friend.  Skip the salt and butter, too, for the best version for Fido.

As always, for items that may affect the health and safety of your pet, consult with your veterinarian. 

For More Information

If you have questions about holiday foods for pets 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.

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets

Cold weather safety tips for pets — but in September? You bet. While we know it will be a bit before there’s a snap in the air, we feel good about helping you in being prepared if Lowe’s already has out Christmas trees. So, when the weather gets chilly, take a few minutes to prepare for your furry friends. 

With help from the ASPCA, we’ve pulled together tips to help you care for your pets in cold weather.

cold weather safety tips for pets
This pup is cozy in his artisan dog sweater

Dogs

  1. Keep you dog on their leash at all time. Also, be sure there are tags on their collar.  Dogs have a more difficult time tracking scents in the winter time, especially in snow.  They can get lost more easily if they do make it off leash.
  2. Make sure to wipe your pet’s paws when they come indoors after walking in snow, rain, or ice.  If they lick their paws, they could potentially ingest harmful chemicals such as antifreeze and salts used on roads. Bonus, remember to wipe their belly, too.
  3. Keep your dog appropriately covering during the winter months.  For example, purchase a dog sweater or jacket. In addition, do not shave your long haired dog during the winter.  They rely on their coat to keep them warm. If you have a short haired dog, they will rely on you to keep them warm.
  4. Limit bathing frequency in winter months. It can remove essential oils needed to keep their skin from getting dry and flaky. If you do bathe your dog, be sure to dry them completely before going for a walk.  Be mindful not to let them walk outside in the cold with a wet coat.
  5. For dogs who are active outdoors during winter months, pet owners should be sure to increase their food supply, particularly their protein consumption. Check with your vet for the best way to do this for your particular pet.

Cats

cold weather safety tips for pets
Cats Can Wear Sweaters, Too
  1. Keep your cat indoors during cold weather, as it is very possible he or she could freeze if left outside.
  2. Another cold-related problem for cats is frostbite. If your cat is accidentally left outside or becomes lost during a heavy snowstorm, the result could be frostbite. If this happens, remember that frozen tissue should never be rubbed. This causes additional tissue damage. Prompt veterinary treatment is needed. 
  3. In the winter time, outdoor cats often sleep under the hoods of cars.  So, before you start your car, be sure to make a loud noise near the hood, to give a cat the opportunity to escape.

All Pets – Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets

  • Consider keeping your home humidified. The change in air from inside to outside can cause dry, flaky and itchy skin.
  • Provide a warm, safe place for your pets to sleep in the winter time such as a soft dog bed and blanket.
  • Don’t ever leave your pet in your car alone in cold weather.  During the winter months, your car traps in cold air and pets could potentially freeze to death.
  • Some pets are sensitive to cold weather because of their age, breed, or illnesses they may have.  During the cold months, limit your sensitive pet’s exposure to the weather by keeping them indoors with the exception of potty breaks.

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.

TLC House and Pet Sitting is a Certified NAPPS Member

TLC House and Pet Sitting is a Certified NAPPS Member

TLC Pet Sitter is a proud NAPPS Member

NAPPS stands for National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. They are the ultimate source for pet sitters who want to take their business to new levels. Above all, they are a trusted resource for pet parents looking for trustworthy care for their pets. You can find our listing for TLC Pet and House Sitting here.

What makes NAPPS unique?  

What makes NAPPS unique? They are the only non-profit national organization for pet sitters. NAPPS is member-run and member-driven. They respond and adapt to the needs of their pet parents, and pet sitters.

NAPPS
NAPPS Supports Professional Pet Sitters

Why Search for a Professional Sitter?

Because in-home pet sitting has its benefits. The number one reason, are those for your pets.

  • Staying at home in his/her safe, secure environment
  • Being surrounded by familiar sights, smells and sounds
  • Following his/her regular diet and exercise routine
  • Having play time
  • Receiving love and personal attention
  • Maintaining medical treatment, when required
  • Having someone responsible in case of an emergency
  • Eliminating the trauma of travel or an unfamiliar environment
  • Helping to ensure good health (no exposure to other animals’ illness or parasites)

How NAPPS Helps

NAPPS provides members with continuing education opportunities, a certification program, free business forms, discounted insurance and other valuable benefits. As a result, at TLC, we leverage those tools to provide the best care and interactions that we can.

For Pet Parents

They help pet parents, too. For example, they offer a Pet Sitter Locator. Also, they offer tips on everything from hiring a pet sitter to pet health and safety. Learn more on their Pet Parent page.

NAPPS provides free documents on emergency preparedness. These documents are not just a checklist of what to bring to a pet-friendly shelter. They are detailed plans with proven solutions to a wide range of situations – for pet sitters and for pet parents.

Finally, we encourage you to visit petsitter.org to learn more about NAPPS. In short, they are the nation’s leading non-profit professional pet sitting organization.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

What Does A Pet Sitter Do?

What Does A Pet Sitter Do?

What Does a Pet Sitter Do?

You may be thinking that pet sitting is just opening the door, petting the dog on the head and letting him out for a potty break, right? Maybe in the old days when pet owners went on vacation and asked a neighbor to look in every now and then. Today, however, our cherished members of the family are being rewarded with the care and love of professional pet sitters.

Loving Care from a TLC Pet Sitter

What to Expect

At TLC House & Pet Sitting Service our sitters visit dogs up to three times a day and cats once or twice a day. We provide love and attention along with providing fresh food, water and exercise. TLC includes these services and much more.

We provide experienced sitters that know what  to do while looking after your pet’s individual needs. When required, we administer medicines, both orally or by injection (for insulin), according to your instructions with prescribed dosages. All the care you provide your pet is performed in your absence by our sitters/walkers on your pet’s regular schedule. It’s not exactly the same as when you’re home, but we get pretty close. At TLC, we know that your pet misses you, and we are mindful of that bond.

We will walk dogs privately in your neighborhood after learning your dog’s commands and leash etiquette with your consultation. We dispose of all dog poop and cat litter boxes. If your pet requires overnight attention we will be there for that as well. We prepare detailed reports on your pet during your absence – and we can check in with nervous parents!

While we are visiting TLC sitter/walker do those little things to keep your house looking lived in – hauling trash cans to and from the curb, bringing in the mail, alternating lights, picking up newspapers and watering plants. But even with all that we never forget the pat on the head – just like the old days.

Learn More About Our Services

If you’d like to learn more about our services, please visit our website.

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!

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.