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(480) 608-5885 / TLC House & Pet Sitting Service
What is Positive Reinforcement Training?

What is Positive Reinforcement Training?

Learn About Positive Reinforcement Training and How To Apply it With Your Dog

There are a host of dog training philosophies, each with their own, often-times vocal, champions. Our sitters and walkers at TLC House & Pet Sitting practice positive reinforcement training that uses rewards. Rewards are in the form of treats or praise or play to reinforce good behavior and ignore all bad behavior. Most in the dog community consider positive reinforcement to be the most effective method for behavior modification in pets.

Positive Reinforcement in Practice

In practice, while walking and caring for dogs, this means keeping commands short and uncomplicated. Your dog is looking for consistency and the desired behavior must be rewarded immediately every time the proper action is performed.

keep commands short and uncomplicated

Don’t Reward Bad Behavior

 At the same time, it is critical with positive reinforcement training to never reward undesired behavior. Rather than doling out punishment, unwanted behavior from your dog is dealt with by withholding something from your pet. Withholding attention, toys or even companionship in the form of a “time-out” are good options. Finding what works best for your dog is key. Often shaping behavior will involve a vocal interrupter during a negative behavior to encourage the dog into choosing the right action.

Use Treats Wisely

Our sitters/walkers come to know what your dog loves as a reward. It can be a walk or maybe just a hearty belly rub. Most dogs love their treats and it is important to know how to handle food rewards during positive reinforcement training. When first working with a dog to illicit a new behavior, a treat every time the action is performed is known as continuous reinforcement. Always accompany the handing out of food with robust praise.

Once your pet is demonstrating consistent performance of the behavior it is time to cut back on the rewards. See our previous post about ‘Too Many Dog Treats‘. Instead of a treat every time, withhold the treat – but not the praise – once out of every five repetitions. Then twice, then three times and so on. Mix up this intermittent reinforcement pattern so as not to frustrate your dog. Keep up the praise but dial down the excitement level to a “this-is-what-we-expect” tone of “good dog.”

Positive Reinforcement Training Pays Dividends

 Positive reinforcement in this fashion requires patience but with time your dog will become the solid canine citizen we all want our pets to be. And he will be doing it because he is getting what he wants out of the bargain – your praise and admiration and a tasty morsel every now and then.

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.

Diabetes in Dogs – Know the Warning Signs

Diabetes in Dogs – Know the Warning Signs

Diabetes in Dogs – Knowing the Warning Signs

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

diabetes in dogs

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

Understanding Glucose & Insulin

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

Glucose:

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

Insulin:

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

What is Diabetes in Dogs?

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

Insulin-deficiency Diabetes

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

Insulin-resistance Diabetes

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

diabetes in dogs

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

Signs of Diabetes in Dogs

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

Early warning signs of diabetes in dogs are:

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

More advanced symptoms include:

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

Treating Diabetes for Your Furry Friend

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

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

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

For More Information

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

Ear Infections in Dogs

Ear Infections in Dogs

Ear Infections in Dogs

A Common Ailment for Many

Your Dog’s Ears Need Protecting from Ear Infections

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

What causes ear infections in dogs?

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

What are the signs of an ear infection?

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

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

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

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

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

How do I treat my dog’s ear infections?

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

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

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

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

Additional Reading

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

For More Information

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

Heartworm in Dogs: How to Prevent It

Heartworm in Dogs: How to Prevent It

Heartworm in Dogs

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

heartworm in dogs

The Cause

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

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

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

Symptoms

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

Diagnosis

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

Prevention of Heartworm in Dogs

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

Treatment

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

heartworm in dogs
heartworm treatments may involve hospitalization

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

For More Information

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

Alternatives to Leaving Pets in the Car

Alternatives to Leaving Pets in the Car

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

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

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

5 Alternatives to Leaving Pets in the Car

1. Use the Drive Through

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

2. Ask a Friend or a Pet Sitter Like Us

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

3. Can Your Pet Come Inside with You?

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

4. Eating Outdoors Anyone?

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

5. Let Your Dog Skip the Trip

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

All the cool comforts of home

What to Do – Just in Case

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

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

Signs of Heatstroke in Pets

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

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

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

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

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

How to Stop a Dog From Barking

How to Stop a Dog From Barking

How to Stop a Dog from Barking

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

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

Why Would a Dog Bark?

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

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

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

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

How to Train Your Dog to Stop the Behavior

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

  • Ignore the Barking

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

We know! Ignoring your dog can be difficult.

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

  • Keep the Dog Tired

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

Get Your Pup Used to Excitement

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

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

For More Information

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

Getting a Puppy During COVID?

Getting a Puppy During COVID?

First Time Puppy Owner?

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

Things You’ll Need when Getting a Puppy During COVID

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

Selecting a Collar

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

A Sturdy Leash

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

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

Harness – for Puppy and Adult Dog

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

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

Puppy and Dog Food

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

Dog Bowls for Food and Water

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

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

Variety of Toys

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hazards of Christmas Decorations for Pets

Hazards of Christmas Decorations for Pets

Hazards of Christmas Decorations for Pets

Including the Not So Obvious Ones

The Christmas and holiday season is upon us once again.  If you’re like many, there are time honored traditions visible in most corners of your home.  From the fresh cut Christmas tree to the twinkly lights to the masses of sweet confections (you may want to check out our article on Holiday Foods for Pets).  It’s an exciting time for all of us.  Not unlike having a toddler in the house, extra precautions are needed with your pets.  The hazards of Christmas decorations for pets may not be immediately obvious.  With a little preparation and consideration this holiday season is sure to be festive and accident free.

Christmas Decorations for Pets
Our pets are part of the family

Dangers of a Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree, decorated from head to toe, feels magical to some.  The smell of fresh pine and the twinkling of the lights can mesmerize and delight.  Until your pets get a hold of it, that is.  With an innate desire to chew on sticks and twigs, your pup may seek out the perfect branches for a snack.   While this may seem harmless, did you know that oils from a fir tree can be quite irritating to mouth tissue?  It can cause excessive drooling and even vomiting.  Even more hazardous are the needles of the tree if ingested.  If consumed in enough quantity they can  puncture the lining of the intestines.  Worse, the needles can create a blockage in your pet’s intestinal tract.  Both can have serious consequences.  We recommend keeping an eye on your pets while the tree is in your home.

If you live in an area like Arizona that doesn’t get a lot of snow, you may be tempted to bring a flocked tree home.  Flocking is a process that deposits small fibers onto branches to simulate the look of snow.  Beware that if Fido starts to nibble and ingests too much flocking, he could become quite ill.

There’s one more item to be conscious of with a fresh tree.  Many of them are treated with chemicals to extend their life span after being cut.  These chemicals can seep into the water supply in your tree stand.  When Fido gets thirsty and sneaks a sip from the tree (which looks like a big water bowl to her) she may be ingesting poison.

Sparkly Lights

No Christmas tree is complete without a bounty of beautiful lights.  Whether you’re an all-white-lights kind of person, or prefer blinking multi-colored lights, every tree comes alive with them.  Your pets couldn’t agree more.  For whatever reason, many pets are drawn to the cords of lights.  Whether they are on your tree, mantle, or around a door frame, pets are intrigued.  Did you know that electrocution from chewing on cords is the most common form or electrical injury for pets.  Electrocution, as it sounds, is quite painful.  It can cause burning and scarring of the mouth and surrounding tissue and hair.  Some animals even experience long-term complications from injuries sustained during cord chewing. 

If you have a pet that likes to chew, we suggest keeping lights up and away from their reach.  Even if you think you can trust your pet, it is wise to periodically check cords for chew marks.  Or, an extreme alternative that we’ve seen is placing a cage around your tree.  This may dampen the Christmas mood a bit, however.

Christmas Decorations for Pets
Don’t let those cute faces fool you :o)

Christmas Decorations for Pets

Bringing out your favorite decorations from years gone by can be a tricky prospect with a tail wagging pup or a cat that can leap tall buildings in a single bound.  If you need to scale back this year because of a new furry family member, here are a few alternatives that are safe and mostly pet proof.

  • Paper decorations dyed with food coloring are inexpensive and safe ornaments (and fun for the kids to make)
  • Shatterproof Christmas ornaments will last for years and usually survive a swat or bump off of the tree
  • Silk Christmas ornaments are an alternative to glass and will withstand the curiosity of pets

Decorations Not on Your Tree

Even though the biggest attraction for your pets may be the tree, there are other hazards of Christmas decorations for pets to keep in mind.  This abbreviated list may help you keep your home pet-friendly during the holiday season:

Poinsettias can be dangerous to pets
  • Poinsettia Plants – which are mildly poisonous to pets if ingested
  • Advent Calendars – which often contain candy that can make your pets ill
  • Live Mistletoe – which is mildly to moderately poisonous to pets and humans
  • Cookies, Cakes, Pies – Some contain ingredients, such as chocolate or nuts, that can make our pets ill
  • Jerusalem Cherry – which cause painful intestinal issues
  • Lilies and Daffodils – which can cause convulsions and are fatal when ingested in large amounts

At TLC we are wishing you and your pets a happy and safe 2020 holiday season.

For More Information

If you have questions about the hazards of Christmas decorations 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.

Empty the Shelters During the Holidays

Empty the Shelters During the Holidays

Empty the Shelters is an ongoing movement by Bissell. Yes, the Bissell that sells vacuum and carpet cleaners. 

Are you looking for a way to help homeless animals, but don’t yet know how?  Bissell Pet Foundation may be what you’re looking for.

The mission of the foundation is finding loving, forever homes for every pet.   Bissell sponsors these Empty the Shelters adoption events that take place across the country.  This allows prospective pet owners the opportunity to adopt a pet for a reduced fee. Bissell Pet Foundation is sponsoring the remaining cost.

empty the shelters

Events

In October 2020, the national Empty the Shelters event tallied more than 3,900 pets adopted and more than 7,800 lives saved.  Bissell teamed up with 160 shelter partners in 33 states (including Arizona).  To support animal lifesaving efforts, families either chose adoption, fostering, or making a contribution to the Empty the Shelters fund.

Arizona – 2018

In 2018, Bissell Pet Foundation saw a need in the Phoenix area shelters. Summer heat continued to rise putting pets at risk.  Also, experiencing a monsoon, and hundreds of pets running away during a July 4 event required a response. Therefore, Bissell Pet Foundation hosted two events that year. In July and August they saw 1,134 adopted pets and 2,268 lives saved.  The shelters that participated were Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA, Arizona Humane Society, and Maricopa County Animal Care & Control.

Bissell Pet Foundation – Empty the Shelters

empty the shelters

The Bissell Pet Foundation exists to assist animal welfare organizations.  They aim to help reduce the number of animals in shelters and rescues through pet adoption, spay/neuter programs and microchipping.

Bark Friday Auction:  November 6 – 27

As you can imagine, the pandemic created some hurdles for the foundation.  In response, Bissell is hosting an event to help homeless pets to find a loving home. We hope you’ll be encouraged to adopt during the holidays to provide a loving fur-ever home.

This three-week-long online auction is allowing shoppers to browse over 45 specialized items.  These range from gift cards to gift baskets (for humans the pets).  Their slogan is “Bid Away to Make a Homeless Pet’s Day”.  Check out their website here

View and bid for items here. And, register to participate.

Learn More About the Bissell Pet Foundation Empty the Shelters

If you’d like to see where Bissell is making an impact in your state, visit this link here and filter results by state. Above all, we hope you’ll consider getting involved.

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.

Holiday Foods for Pets

Holiday Foods for Pets

Holiday Foods for Pets

What’s Safe and What to Avoid

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.

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!

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.