Your cat is a marvel of consistency – sleeps in the same place, eats the same amount of food and drinks the same amount of water. Every day. This love of routine can make it easy to spot early indicators that your cat’s health may not be right. And those telltale signs are often waiting in your cat’s litter box.
TLC offers regular litter box cleaning as part of our service. But it 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 (see previous post) by your cat. Somehow her environment is not to her liking and you can take steps to correct the situation.
An abnormal litterbox does not automatically portend trouble but regular monitoring is a sure way help prevent trouble from brewing and keeping your cat happy.
Probiotics Benefit Dog Digestion
What are Probiotics? They are beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive tract and aid in your dog’s digestion. Good news for Scottsdale pet owners as several pet stores in the Scottsdale area carry dog food containing probiotics.
What are the benefits of Probiotics? Probiotics inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria such as: E-Coli and Salmonella. They also effectively treat diarrhea, irritable bowel, and even urinary tract infections.
What are some Probiotics that pet owners should look for?
- Purina’s Fortiflora
- Nusentia’s Probiotic Miracle
- Vetri-Science’s Vetri-Probiotic
- Jarrow’s Pet Dophilus
- Thorne Research Bacillus
Where can Scottsdale pet owners find Probiotics locally?
- Choice Pet Market – Scottsdale Rd. and Shea
- Fetch Doggie Store and Kitty Too – Hayden and Raintree
- Petsmart – Camelback and Scottsdale Rd.
Information provided by “Pro” Probiotics, by Mary Straus, The Whole Dog Journal, March 2012
Dog Care, Walking & Pet Sitting
Scottsdale Family Prepares for a New Puppy
Puppy Preparedness Tips for Scottsdale AZ
- Family Puppy Meeting: who will feed the puppy and when, who will take the puppy out to potty and when, and who will take the little guy to the vet for vaccinations and deworming. Another topic for discussion was an agreement on the language that the family will use to teach the puppy.
- Puppy Shopping: puppy food, food/water bowls, bedding, collar, leash, tags, crate, chew toys, and grooming supplies.
- Puppy-proofing a Scottsdale home: taping loose electrical cords to baseboards, putting poisonous chemicals out-of-reach, de-cluttering items within puppy’s reach, and putting up gates or a crate.
- In the beginning: keep the same food brand and feeding schedule, then switched to a different food brand incrementally after about a week.
- Maintaining a puppy routine: eating, sleeping, going potty, play time, time with the family and time alone helped their puppy to adapt to the new environment.
The arrival of a new puppy brought such delight to one Scottsdale AZ family’s home and preparing for the event helped the puppy and Scottsdale family to feel comfortable right away.
Dog Care, Walking & Pet Sitting
Bordetella: Does Your Dog Really Need the Kennel Cough Vaccine?
by JAN RASMUSEN on MARCH 22, 2012 · By dogs Naturally Magazine.
Permission from Jan Rasmusen at www.Truth4Dogs.com
Your veterinarian, kennel owner, day care provider or groomer says your dog should/must be vaccinated against kennel cough, but you’re trying not to over-vaccinate.
What should you do?
More and more, pet parents are finding another vet, kennel owner, day care provider or groomer — or keeping their dog at home! Vaccination is a serious medical procedure with significant potential risks. If that isn’t enough, the vaccine isunlikely to prevent kennel cough. It can even produce kennel-cough like symptoms. The WSAVA Guidelines say, “Transient (3–10 days) coughing, sneezing, or nasal discharge may occur in a small percentage of vaccinates.” It can also cause a serious anaphylactoid reaction. Look it up. You won’t like it.
About kennels, day care providers and groomers: In general, if they have good ventilation and practice good hygiene, kennel cough shouldn’t be an issue. Bordetella is not for dogs playing together in well-ventilated areas — like dog parks or backyards or living rooms.
Think of kennel cough as a canine cold, transmitted as human colds are transmitted — from an infected individual in close contact with another individual with compromised immunity. Like a cold, it is also considered a mild self-limiting disease. A veterinarian friend uses an OTC remedy called B & T Cough and Bronchial Syrup to treat the cough. For small dogs she uses the children’s variety. See your vet for further treatment information.
If your service provider is afraid your dog will contract kennel cough at their establishment, offer to sign a letter of informed consent saying you’ve been informed of the risk and will waive liability. That should do it. Should. It’s really just liability at issue, not your dog’s overall health.
If the person insisting on the Bordetella vaccine is afraid other dogs at their establishment will contract kennel cough from your unvaccinated dog, this person clearly doesn’t trust that thevaccinated dogs actually have immunity. If they don’t believe the vaccine is protective, why insist that you or anyone else vaccinate?
Note: If you decide to give the vaccine, make sure it is the intranasal form, that is, given as nose drops, not injected. And give the vaccine at least a week before contact with other dogs, for the sake of both your dog and other dogs.
Don’t take my word for any of this. Read what two vets and a PhD have to say about the Bordetella vaccine:
World-renowned vaccination scientist, Dr. Ronald Schultz, says [emphasis is mine]: “Many animals receive “kennel cough” vaccines that include Bordetella and CPI and/or CAV-2 every 6 to 9 monthswithout evidence that this frequency of vaccination is necessary or beneficial. In contrast, other dogs are never vaccinated for kennel cough and disease is not seen. CPI immunity lasts at least 3 years when given intranasally, and CAV -2 immunity lasts a minimum of 7 years parenterally for CAV-I. These two viruses in combination with Bordetella bronchiseptica are the agents most often associated with kennel cough, however, other factors play an important role in disease (e.g. stress, dust, humidity, molds, mycoplasma, etc.), thus kennel cough is not a vaccine preventable diseasebecause of the complex factors associated with this disease. Furthermore, this is often a mild to moderate self limiting disease. I refer to it as the ‘Canine Cold.’”
For many pet owners, dealing with the harmful effects of their pets’ mild to severe separation anxiety is part of a daily uphill battle. Even the shortest trip away sparks fear and anxiety in their pets, which can cause them to act out in aggressive or destructive ways. Pet owners can find ways to take control of this behavior by recognizing the problem and actively participating in correcting the behavior. The ASPCA offers helpful tips to counteract your pets’ irrational fears and anxieties due to separation.
Mild Separation Anxiety
The ASPCA recommends using “counterconditioning” as a way to minimize your pet’s anxiety. Counterconditioning is defined as, “a treatment process that changes an animal’s fearful, anxious or aggressive reaction to a pleasant, relaxed one instead. It’s done by associating the sight or presence of a feared or disliked person, animal, place, object or situation with something really good, something the dog loves,” Separation Anxiety, www.aspcabehavior.org. For example, if your pet is displaying signs of anxiety while you are away, such as destroying property or barking uncontrollably, consider giving your dog a special treat or toy whenever you leave. The ASPCA recommends a KONG toy filled with a tasty treat such as low fat cheese or peanut butter. Toys like the KONG provide an immediate positive reinforcement of good behavior, while preoccupying your pet for a long time while you are away. This solution works best only in cases of mild separation anxiety, as pets with moderate to severe anxiety may not care to eat or play with anything whenever their owners are not home.
Moderate to Severe Separation Anxiety
In cases of moderate to severe separation anxiety, a more methodical approach is needed. Begin with exposure to short terms of separation that do not produce anxiety and then increase them gradually over time. It is important to note that when attempting to desensitize a pet to their irrational fear of being alone, they must not feel fear at any time during the process or the plan will backfire. The first step would be to alleviate the pet’s anxiety associated with the sights and sounds of your departure such as: the sound of keys jingling, or the sight of you putting on your shoes. The way to do so, would be to include these “cues” in your daily routine multiple times per day, without actually leaving. Over time, the pet will disassociate those cues with your departure, and no longer experience anxiety from those pre-departure sights and sounds. The next phase would be to gradually introduce your pet to very short absences. Start by putting the pet in a room, working on commands such as “sit” and “stay”, then exiting the room and remaining on the other side of the door for a short period of time. Before the pet displays any signs of anxiety, open the door. Work on this several times per day and increase the lengths of absence. Next, add the departure cues that may stimulate anxiety to the mix. Once you see that your pet is no longer displaying signs of anxiety during this exercise, move on to a more challenging exercise of exiting out the back door several times and then finally out the front door. Remember to make this exercise like a game for your pet to enjoy. Make sure your pet is completely relaxed before a session and between each session. Practice this several times a day, and when your pet is ready, increase the absence time by 15 minute increments, building up to a goal of 45 minute increments after a few weeks of practice. While treating your pet for separation anxiety through a methodical approach of desensitization, it is very important that your pet is not left alone to suffer from fears of separation and act on them. This would be totally counterproductive to the process. While training your pet to no longer fear separation, you must only expose them to separation in very small, incremental amounts during your desensitization sessions. When you must leave the home, it is important to consider other alternatives to leaving your pet alone until they have completed their training. Some alternatives to leaving a pet with severe separation anxiety at home alone would be: asking a friend, family member or pet sitter stay with the pet, or taking the pet to a doggy daycare.
Punishment for Anxious Behavior is Counterproductive
When your pet acts out in a disobedient or destructive way while you are out of the house, the common response may be to punish. Just remember, that your pet is acting out based on severe distress and anxiety. Punishing and scolding will not change their behavior. In fact, it will most likely add to their fears and anxieties, which may make the problem worse. Only through a calm and calculated approach of desensitization to your pet’s irrational fears, will you begin to see the desired results.
Information for this topic provided by ASPCA.For more information on this topic and many others, please visit www.aspcabehavior.org
Once you have determined that a pet sitter is the best solution for the care of your pets, hiring the right pet sitter is the next step. Finding the right pet sitter will make the pet sitting experience an enjoyable one for both you and your pets. On the other hand, making an uninformed decision about who will be caring for your beloved pets and home could have disastrous results.
Finding a Potential Pet Sitter
With the convenience of the internet, a qualified, professional pet sitter can be found quite easily. Choose a source that you trust, such as the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List. Also, visit the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters website www.petsitters.org for information on pet sitters in your area. Recommendations from friends and family are also a great resource.
Once You Find a Potential Pet Sitter
- Be sure to conduct a thorough interview of the person who will be caring for your pets and who will have access to your home while you are away.
- Ask for a list of client references.
- Ask the sitter for proof of bonding and insurance coverage, as well as any other certifications that the sitter may have. Some sitters may have animal CPR certifications or Vet Tech experience.
- Make sure the sitter has an opportunity to bond with your pets and observe the sitter’s behavior as well as your pet’s behavior to determine if they are a good match.
- Determine your needs, your pet’s needs, and your budget, as pet sitting fees may vary.
- Communicate your needs and your pet’s needs clearly to your pet sitter, so they may understand your expectations while you are away.
- Follow up with the pet sitter afterwards, and communicate your positive and/or negative experiences, so they may improve upon their services.
- Work on creating a long lasting relationship with your pets and your pet sitter, so your pets will truly feel “at home” every time you are away.
For more information on this topic and many others, please visit the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters website at: www.petsitters.org
When choosing a family pet, it is wise to take into consideration your child’s abilities and level of understanding in caring of your family pet. The ASPCA offers some advice on choosing an age appropriate pet for your child as well as pointers on creating a positive relationship between your pet and your child.
Infants- If you already have a pet or if you acquire one while your child is an infant, be sure to closely monitor the time spent between your pet and baby. They need time to spend short amounts of time together in order to get adjusted to each other. The amount of time they are together can be increased over time, as they become more comfortable with each other. Before bringing a new baby home to your pet, some suggest leaving one of the baby’s blankets with the pet, so they can become familiar with the new smell.
Toddlers, Age 1-3- Most toddlers will grab and pull on the ears, fur, legs and tail of your pet. When adopting a new pet, keep this in mind and select a pet that has a high tolerance for this kind of interaction. If adopting an older pet, be sure to choose one with a history of living with children. Also, remember that your toddler will naturally be curious about the food dishes, water bowls, litter boxes, and fish tank equipment. Keeping these things out of reach will allow for a safer environment for your pet and child.
Young Children, Age 3-5– Your young child may be interested in helping to care for your pet and is learning to develop empathy. If you already have a pet, allowing your young child to assist you with feeding, brushing, and cleaning the pet will further develop these skills as well as strengthen the bond between your child and pet. When considering a pet for your young child, ASPCA suggests you consider a guinea pig for your family pet. They generally don’t bite, they love to be held, and they typically squeal or whistle when they are happy, which can be quite amusing for a young child.
Children Age 5-10– Children at this age are very interested in caring for their pets, with a parent’s supervision. As they assist in feeding, cleaning, and grooming chores, parents are encouraged to reinforce good hygiene for both the pets and themselves. When choosing a pet for a child at this age, the ASPCA recommends small pets such as gerbils or fish, as children this age tend to have “inconsistent attention spans.”
Pre-Teen Age 10-13– Preteen youths are often times very engaged in caring for their pets and are fully capable of doing so. At this age, a pre-teen is usually ready to care for a pet which requires a significant amount of care and attention such as: a dog, cat, rabbit, etc. Parental supervision is encouraged to ensure pets are not neglected. When choosing a pet for your child at this age, consider your child’s lifestyle and interests. Active pre-teens should be paired with active pets, such as a playful puppy. Children who are looking for a pet to love, groom, pet, etc. would be better paired with an older dog or cat that is friendly with children.
Teens Age 13-17– Your teen may love pets and be responsible enough to care for a pet on their own. At this age, one thing to keep in mind is that your teen may have a very busy lifestyle, with little time to care for a pet. Also, when selecting a teen’s pet, consider the expected life-span of that pet, and plans for that pet’s care when your teen leaves the home for college. Some pets such as: lizards and fish may be the perfect pet for your teen and their busy, on-the-go lifestyle.
By understanding how to create a positive relationship between your children and pets, you will allow for a happier, safer home for your entire family.
For more information on this topic and many others, please visit the ASPCA website at: www.aspca.org