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(480) 588-1364 / TLC House & Pet Sitting Service
The Hyperactive Dog & Wearing Them Out

The Hyperactive Dog & Wearing Them Out

The Hyperactive Dog

hyperactive dog

Oh, the joys of a hyperactive dog. And by joy, we mean challenges. Have you ever met a dog that seems to have springs on his paws instead of toes? You can envision him now, jumping up and down tirelessly with never ending energy! These dogs usually have the label of hyperactive because they cannot stop moving! They develop undesirable behaviors like excessive barking, chewing and destructive habits. In extreme cases, they may even begin chewing at their own skin in an attempt to burn energy. It may seem like a never ending task to help these dogs, but it can be done!

The Tired Dog, The Good Dog

The age old saying, a tired dog is a good dog is not one to be argued with. A dog who has burned up his energy just wants to rest and relax.  When a dog is tired, he doesn’t want to get into trouble or cause problems.  For a hyperactive dog, however, becoming tired may be a difficult thing to accomplish! To figure out why your dog is hyper, first look at him with a fresh set of eyes!

What breed is your dog? Is your dog a working breed? This could be a Border Collie or even a German Shepherd Dog. If so, then you could find yourself with a bored dog. Dogs in general are smart. However, dogs bred to work or hunt are highly intelligent. They need a job to do! A job can be anything from learning tricks to running an agility course.  There are several activities and sports you can play with your dog. Mixed breeds, purebreds and purposely bred hybrids all need a job. Be sure the one you pick is something you both can enjoy!

Next, take a look at your dog’s schedule. Is he spending most of his time alone while you are at work? Does he get exercise beyond a simple one hour daily walk? For most dogs, one walk a day does not burn off their energy. Instead, hyperactive dogs need the ability to run or jog for a period of time to really give them the exercise their body craves.  Forcing an energetic dog to sit at home all day with nothing to do will surely put springs on his paws or entice him to become destructive to use up the energy he is stuck with.

Hyperactive Dog? Check the Food!

Just like with a human child, the foods your dog is eating could cause them to have more energy than he probably should! For the already hyperactive dog, diets including grains and sugars give your dog more energy.  The carbohydrates in grains, including wheat, rice, soy and corn all turn to sugars inside the body. It doesn’t matter if a human eats it or a dog, but these carbs will also turn to fat if it is not used up through exercise.  You can either increase your dog’s exercise regimen, or provide him a healthier diet.

a healthy diet is best for a dog with too much energy

Foods, including raw diets that are grain free and made up of almost all animal products will give your dog the healthy, balanced energy level he is naturally meant to have. This can help reduce his hyperactivity a great deal, while giving him the natural nutritional energy producers he is meant to ingest, like proteins and healthful fats.

Is the Energy Level Change Sudden?

If your pup used to be a well mannered pup you may want to take a visit to the vet. Occasionally, there are medical issues associated with sudden changes in behavior. This article by Jan Rasmusen on Dogs Naturally Magazine may be helpful to you.

Step It Up!

Unless your dog is of a special breed that requires limited exercise, like Pugs or Bulldogs, consider increasing your dog’s work outs!  A hyperactive dog enjoys plenty of exercise. If you are not able to provide more than a simple walk a day, consider hiring a professional dog walker. Or, hiring a dog jogger if one is in your area. These pet professionals can take your dog out for a run whenever you are at work or school. Doing so will drastically reduce his hyperactivity and unwanted behavioral problems.

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.

What To Avoid When Adopting A Dog

What To Avoid When Adopting A Dog

Understanding What To Avoid When Adopting A Dog

5 Things You Should Look Out for //

what to avoid when adopting a dog

Adopting a dog from a shelter or a breed rescue is an excellent way to find a pet, plus you’re saving a life in the process. However, there are a few things that you should avoid when adopting that new dog for your family.

What to Avoid When Adopting a Dog #1-5

#1 – Aggression With People

If the dog shows any type of aggression, no matter the age, do not adopt it. Although some may take issue with this advice, my stance is based on decades of experience. There are just too many sweetheart dogs out there that need good homes.  Your desire to rescue a dog does not have to come with the burden of caring for a dog that you already know is aggressive.

#2 – The Fearful Dog

Quite often I find new dog owners that have adopted a dog that appeared to have fearfulness.  Some of these adopted dogs were puppies. I’ve had clients tell me that when adopting their puppy, the observed the litter while seven of the pups ran up to them to play and one little scared puppy sat in the corner. You’d be amazed by how many people take home the afraid puppy, out of shear compassion.  However, my advice again would be to pass on adopting a fearful dog.  Although it’s possible to help a scared dog interact like normal dogs, it’s unlikely. So my suggestion is to pick one of those outgoing puppies, one that adds to the love and overall happiness of the home. Knowing what to avoid when adopting a dog can go a long way for long-term happiness.

This is the opposite of what to avoid when adopting a dog. If you find one that will do this — bring him home for life!

#3 – Dog Aggression

If you already have a dog at home and want to add a new dog to your pack, then adopting a dog that is not dog-aggressive is a must. It’s always a good idea to introduce your new dog to your existing dog in a strange environment not at your home. So keep in mind that the first meeting should be at the local park or out for a walk. Make sure that the adoption agency is willing to take back the new dog if he shows any aggression with your existing dog at home.

#4 – An Unwell Dog

Needless to say, you do not want to accept a sick or unhealthy dog especially if you already have a dog at home. I do realize that there are those of you who are real rescuers and nurturers that will accept the challenges of caring for a sick dog in order to nurse it back to health. However, for the average pet owner, that may be more of a task than they want to take on. On your list of what to avoid when adopting a dog, this is a big one.

#5 – The Unsocialized Dog

When adopting your dog, keep in mind that the period of socialization is from birth to 20 weeks old. If you are adopting a puppy, you have to accomplish that before the five-month mark. If you are considering a puppy that has been at a shelter its entire life and has not been properly socialized that could be a mistake that you will have to live with for years, unless  there is still time to do it before the 20 week mark. On the other hand, if you’re choosing an older dog, you’ll be able to tell if he’s been socialized properly by his attitude around people and other dogs.

Knowing what to avoid when adopting a dog is priceless. Adopting a dog can be a fantastic way to select a new best friend.  Just take your time and find the right dog that suits your lifestyle and your expectations. When you follow this simple advice, you and your new best buddy will have a happy future together.

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.

Are You Practicing Good Dog Owner Etiquette

Are You Practicing Good Dog Owner Etiquette

Are You Practicing Good Dog Owner Etiquette?

Are there rules of dog owner etiquette? You betcha.

We’ve all experienced the awkwardness of a poorly behaved dog. Whether it’s in public or in someone’s home, it’s hard to know what to do. Do we say something? Do we pretend it’s not happening? As a dog owner, it is a good idea to teach your pup to practice their doggy manners.   Not sure what this means? We compiled a list for you. These will help you be well on your way to being a good dog parent who practices their dog owner etiquette.

Is Your Dog Jumping On People?

dog owner etiquette

This rule is the one that is most often broken.  Yep, you walk into a home and here comes the dog, jumping all over you.  Practicing good dog owner etiquette means knowing how to stop this behavior. Some people say it’s okay because they are dog lovers but not everyone wants a dog jumping all over them.  In some cases, these exuberant dogs actually knock people down. Depending on the person’s age, this could be dangerous.  

So how do you keep it from happening?  Put the dog on leash, so he cannot get to the person entering through the door.  In fact, teaching your dog to do a sit /stay while on the leash really comes in handy.  Eventually, once the proper door behavior has been learned, you may no longer need to use the leash.

Is Your Dog Barking Excessively?

If you have ever been within earshot of a non-stop barking dog, you know excessive barking can be a real annoyance.  If you are unable to keep your dog from barking consider making some adjustments for those around you.

For instance, we should all try to be good neighbors and bring our dogs in the house. This is especially appreciated during the evening so that our dogs are not disturbing the peace.  If you know a neighbor sleeps during the day, consider keeping your dog indoors throughout the day as well.  If necessary, crate your dog, and the neighbors will love you.  

How Do Walks Impact Dog Owner Etiquette?

Did you know that dogs that are taken for daily walks will be less likely to feel a need to release pent-up energy in unacceptable ways such as excessive barking of jumping? Even more, if they get used to a regular walk routine they’ll generally be calmer throughout the day.

Are You Allowing Your Dog To Run Free

Unless you live in a very remote area your dog should be within your control or yard at all times. This means on a leash or in your fenced yard. Allowing your dog to run loose in most areas is not only against the law, it is also very dangerous for your dog.  Thousands of dogs a year are run over while roaming the streets.  A dog owner that cares for his dog will never allow his dog to run loose.  If your dog shows any type of aggression while running loose, you are vulnerable to a tremendous amount of liability, should your dog happen to bite a person or another dog.

Picking Up the Poop

dog owner etiquette

One of the fundamental rules of dog owner etiquette is pick up after your pup.

This issue is a real problem for a large number of homeowners. You’ve seen it, someone walking their dog and allowing them to poop on someone else’s property without scooping it up.  Surprisingly, this has become such a problem in some communities that all dogs in those communities are swabbed for DNA. Any waste material that has not been picked up is checked with the DNA on file, and the offending owner can be fined up to $500.  So, bag the poop to keep your neighborhood clean (and keep neighbors happy with you).

Need Help with the Behavioral Issues?

Practicing good dog owner etiquette will provide a better sense of community for all dog owners and homeowners alike. However, if you have tried working on their barking or jumping and still need some help, fear not. There are several resources to help you with your pet and encouraging him to do his best. This article by the ASPCA helps you find the behavioral help you may need.

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.

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.  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.  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.

Christmas decorations for pets

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 Fluffy 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 scaring 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

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 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
  • 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 are poisonous to pets if ingested
  • 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

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.

Caring for Special Needs Pets

Caring for Special Needs Pets

Caring for Special Needs Pets

As pet sitters, caring for special needs pets is something we do regularly. These pets need a more gentle type of attention that we are qualified to provide, and enjoy doing. Not all pet sitters are qualified or have the patience that your pet may need. Find one that is a good fit for you and your pet.

What is a Special Needs Animal?

Caring for animals with special needs can encompass several conditions and circumstances. There are basic special needs such as young animals who need more frequent visits. There are senior animals who require more potty breaks. Some animals require regular medication. Also, the animals recovering from recent surgery. And there are also animals with physical conditions such as hip dysplasia or loss of sight.

Whatever you animals conditions, we would be happy to discuss them and review a plan of care with you before services begin.

Rest Assured, We Are Qualified

As the owner of TLC House and Pet Sitting Service, Kara has been caring for animals for most of her life. She understand the importance of reliable and qualified care for pet owners. As such, our staff of pet sitters are qualified to care for your animal. Your pet will benefit from our years of experience and these key features of service:

  • Twenty Plus Years of Experience
  • Bonded and Insured
  • Overnight and Extended Visits
  • Veterinarian Recommended
  • Pet CPR Certified
  • Ability to Administer Injectable Medications
  • Ability to Administer Oral Medications
  • Wound Management
  • Management of Dietary Restrictions and Supplements
  • History of Caring for Special Needs Pets (references available)
  • And more

Time for You to Rest?

Caring for a special needs or aging animal can be exhausting. It can even be overwhelming at times. We understand. On the same hand, the thought of leaving them, even for a short time, is difficult to imagine. All of these feelings are normal and expected.

If you’re feeling this way, it may be time to request some assistance. We know that as a result it will help you get the rest you need and be a better caregiver overall.

Therefore, when you feel it’s time for a break, or simply need some additional help, you can count on us. Call us today to discuss your pet’s special needs at (480) 588-1364.

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.

5 Warning Signs of Feeding Your Pup Too Many Dog Treats

5 Warning Signs of Feeding Your Pup Too Many Dog Treats

5 Warning Signs of Feeding Your Pup Too Many Dog Treats

If you have a dog you probably have some dog treats in your kitchen. In fact, some of our clients have so many snacks that the dog rarely eats real food. Giving your dog too many dog treats can actually cause several types of health and behavioral issues. Be on the lookout for these warning signs and cut back on giving your dog treats accordingly:

1. Your Pup Becomes Demanding

If you are giving your dog too many treats he has probably started demanding them after different activities. For example, you may find that your dog demands a treat when you come home or when you get up from taking a nap. You get the idea. When a dog is given too many treats, they find several situations that require a treat.

too many dog treats

2. They Won’t Obey Without a Treat

Did you use treats during the training of your dog? If so, you may find that he won’t sit, or lay down, or stay without a treat in return now.

The simple reason for this is that he was bribed in the beginning and now expects treats all the time for accomplishing any of his obedience tasks.

3. Potty Time?

If treats were used to teach your dog to do his business you may find he is waking you up in the middle the night to take him outside. He probably doesn’t need to go out. He really just wants his treat.

4. Is Your Dog Aggressive?

This warning sign of too many dog treats is a serious one. If your dog shows any sign of aggression with you, eliminate the treats immediately. This is true for other family members, and other pets, too. Until this issue is resolved, usually with the help of a canine behavior specialist, do not introduce treats or bones. Aggression, brought on my treats or bones, can lead to injury.

too many dog treats

5. Is Your Pup Putting on Weight?

Last but not least, is your pup overweight? When that little fluff ball of yours begins to look like a rolly -polly ball then it’s really time to eliminate or cut back on the treats. Giving your dog too many snacks is definitely the way to put unhealthy weight on your dog that it does not need. Weight issues often lead to additional health issues.

Finally, keep in mind that when it comes to treats, less is better. Try not to let your dog trick you into giving him more than he should have.  According to the AKC, it’s all about calories.

We tell people that dogs are really smart and are really good at training people.  In fact, often times, dogs are better at training people than people are at training dogs.

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.

Keep Your Dog Calm During Grooming

Keep Your Dog Calm During Grooming

Keep Your Dog Calm During Grooming

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

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

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

Allow Your Dog to Observe the Grooming Products

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

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

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

Play Soothing Music

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

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

Play With Them First

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

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

Take Period Breaks

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

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

Know When to Stop

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

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

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

Reward Them When Still and Calm

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

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

Finally, enjoy your time together.

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.

Why Hire a Professional Pet Sitter?

Why Hire a Professional Pet Sitter?

Why Hire TLC House & Pet Sitting Service?

Looking for a professional pet sitter? At TLC, we are pet sitters and dog walkers in the Arizona area. We are also nationally and locally recognized award winners. While most seek us for care of their dogs, we also provide cat sitting, too.

professional pet sitter

With so much experience under our belts, we always strive to be the best professional pet sitter in the area. TLC is known for providing pet sitting, house sitting, and dog walking services in Arizona. We are proud to provide our customers with:

  • 20 Years of Experience
  • Emergency Planning
  • Bonded & Insured
  • Veterinarian Recommended
  • Tailored Services
  • 24 Hour Voice Mail
  • Make Reservations Online
  • “A” Ratings at Angie’s List
  • Accredited with the Better Business Bureau

You can count on us as your go-to pet sitter for care of your dogs, cats, and most other pets. We are praised for being reliable, trustworthy, compassionate, and affordable.

See What Our Customers Are Saying About Our Pet Sitting Services

We have several happy customers who have been nice enough to share their feedback and experiences with TLC for our testimonials page. You can take a look at them on our testimonial page.

You can also check out this video posted by Sonoran Living on ABC 15.

More About TLC Pet Sitters

We specialize in in-home pet care while you are away. We are the “Alternative to Boarding” in our area.

This means that we spend time with your pets while you cannot be there. Therefore, while you are away we provide specialized care tailored to each client’s needs.

This includes: following special feeding, diets, regular exercise routine, medications or shots, cleaning litter boxes, and picking up poop. We also care for your home; we make your home appeared lived in. We can set alarms, make sure your AC is working during the summer months and add chemicals to the pool, put out the trash, bring in packages and mail. In addition, we can water plants and do other minimal home care.

Of course, all services also include loving, play time, belly rubs and grooming for the animals.

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.

July 4th Pet Safety

July 4th Pet Safety

Keeping Your Pets Safe on July 4th

Fireworks and dogs

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

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

July 4th pet safety

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

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

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

Safety Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Watch your pets around the food table

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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.

Hiking With Your Dog

Hiking With Your Dog

Going Hiking With Your Dog

If you live in Arizona, you know there are several spots to go hiking with your dog. There’s Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, the trails leading up to Flat Iron, Browns Peak, and several others. Just like human hikers, dogs need the right equipment to stay safe. Getting ready for your hike means not leaving home without these essentials.

Collapsible Water Bowl

It’s fairly easy for your dog to overheat. This is especially true while hiking and exerting himself in the Arizona heat. Dogs do not sweat like humans, so it’s important to ensure that they don’t get too hot. Your furry friend will keep hiking until he drops, therefore, it’s your job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

It is very important to offer them water throughout your journey. One of the easiest ways to do that is by bringing a collapsible dog bowl on your hike. Small, collapsible dog bowls help regulate the amount of water poured so you won’t have to dump excess water. If you dog wants more, simply refill it. Chewy.com offers several types of collapsible bowls. Most offer a quick release clip that can be attached to collars and leashes.

Canine Backpack

If you’re off on a serious hike, you may be carrying lots of equipment. If your dog is able, consider a canine backpack so that he can carry some of his food and water. Check with your veterinarian about how much and if your dog should carry one. The general rule is that your pup can carry about one quarter of their own weight.

Footwear for Your Dog

You are going hiking with your dog and you’ve chosen the proper foot attire for yourself. You’ll want to consider doing the same for Fido. We all know that dogs do not adore those little dog booties. However, they can provide protection from the rough terrain. For instance, if your dog cuts a pad on the way in, getting Fido back out could be spell trouble. Dog booties take a little getting used to, therefore, try them on at home before your big hike.

Energy Snacks

Are you packing snacks for yourself for your hike with your dog? If you are, you’ll want to pack some for Fido, too. Just like you, he will need a little energy boost to keep him going. There are several energy bars and snacks on the market for dogs. Depending on your preferences, such as all natural, or avoiding specific ingredients, you’ll want to find the right ones. Pawtivity, an adventure blog for dogs, put together a list of the best energy bars for dogs 2018. This list may not be exhaustive, however, it is a good start.

The Proper Collar

Just like choosing the proper footwear, consider choosing the proper collar for your hike with your dog. A quick release collar will ensure that you can easily free your pup from a tricky situation such as being stuck on a tree branch. Collars made of nylon or other fast-drying materials are best. Also on Fido’s collar should be an ID with your cell phone number in the event the two of you are separated. Be sure to carry your phone on your hike.

K9 First Aid Kit

If you were a Girl or Boy Scout, you will remember the motto of “Be prepared”. If you’re like many hikers, you may want to bring a K9 first aid kit. For a list of what to bring, the Animal Health Foundation, with the help of the Humane Society, has put together a detailed list of items.

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.

Why Not a Dog Park?

Why Not a Dog Park?

Why Not a Dog Park?

The Reasons We Warn Against Them

When we think about taking our dog to a dog park we begin to conjure ideas of our pet frolicking with other dogs.  We tend to believe that this will be a great experience for them and that they’ll be a happier dog for having had the experience.  This couldn’t be more untrue.  Furthermore, we warn against taking your dog – and especially a puppy – to a dog park!

Hazards and Risks at a Dog Park Outweigh the Benefits

In March of 2018, in California, a small dog was attacked by two larger dogs at Lodi park and was fatally wounded.  While this is an extreme example, it is not uncommon for injuries to occur to dogs at dog parks.  Injuries can sometimes occur because of the co-mingling of large and small dogs.  In other cases, dog fights erupt between same-sized dogs as they try to assert themselves.  If your pet is not well trained for the type of interaction that occurs in a dog park, altercations will occur.

Like People, Not All Dogs Want to Be Social with Everyone They Meet

For some dogs, taking them to a dog park can make them extremely anxious.  It is like being afraid of the water and being pushed into the pool for them. 

Like people, some dogs prefer the comfort of familiar faces or only in small numbers.  Just as we do not chat with everyone we meet, our dogs do not have to play with every dog they meet.  The pressure to do so can make them uncomfortable or aggressive.  Rather than place our pups in this position, find a more suitable alternative.  For instance, schedule a few minutes with the neighbor’s dog every week. This may be all the socialization your dog needs- or wants.  Older dogs, especially, tend to prefer to go without playful interaction with other dogs.

The goal is to ensure that your dog feels relaxed and can leave at any time they start to feel uncomfortable.  Other options include pet socialization classes where the number of dogs is limited and it is monitored in a controlled environment by pet professionals.

Germs, Illness, and Parasites

If that doesn’t get your attention, we’re not sure what will.  Did you know that viruses can live in the soil of the dog park for an extended period of time?  This is true for any soil. This makes dog parks a veritable breeding ground for all types of viruses and parasites.  Because shot records are not required at the door, your pup could be mingling with unvaccinated or unhealthy animals.  This is especially dangerous to a new pup who has not yet completed his full schedule of vaccinations. This pup is therefore more susceptible to the germs.  Safer spaces for your pets include training classes, doggy day care, or boarding kennels where shot records are required prior to entry.

Anti-Training

The energy in a dog park can often be frantic and chaotic.  It doesn’t take long for a dog to get reinforcement from the experience that this behavior is acceptable. This teaches them that their owner has little or no control over them.  If you’ve visited a dog park, you’ve noticed at least one frustrated owner trying to get their dogs attention. It is usually to no avail.  This behavior can often carry over at home.  Undoing what the dog park has taught your dog can be frustrating for both you and your dog.

Elevated Protective Behaviors

Does your dog guard their toys?  Do they maybe even guard you a little?  Does your pet tend to want to keep the water bowl to themselves?  Is your dog the bully of the playground?  Dogs can be instinctual when it comes to guarding their resources.  If another animal tries to take what they believe is theirs it can result in a combative response.

Lasting Trauma

A young dog may feel long-term affects of an unpleasant experience at a dog park.  If they are attacked, especially unprovoked, your dog may begin exhibiting aggressive behavior of their own.  As a human, you may witness what you believe to be a small event happening to your dog that unexpectedly has lasting affects.  These incidents are likened to childhood trauma in humans.  Similar to someone playfully jumping out from behind a corner and yelling “Boo” to a small child who is too young to understand that won’t always happen again, but feels forever as if it will.

Inattentive Owners

All types of dogs come to a dog park.  The same is true for the owners.  There are some great dog owners who watch after their pets.  They keep an eye on them, break up incidents before they escalate, pick-up their messes, watch for inappropriate play or behavior, and are simply aware of their animals.  On the other hand, some owners spend more time on their phones or talking to other people to be bothered with their pet.  In these cases, their dog is left unchecked and can often create the problems mentioned above that you and your dog are trying to avoid.

To be safe, we recommend that you skip the dog park altogether and find better, safer alternatives for your pet.

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.

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.