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(480) 608-5885 / TLC House & Pet Sitting Service
Importance of Exercise for Pets

Importance of Exercise for Pets

The importance of exercise for pets cannot be overstated. Plainly said, if your dog is overweight, they aren’t getting enough exercise. And, like humans, being overweight can lead to health issues in your pets.

exercise for pets
This pup is overweight

According to the Experts

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention tells us that out of America’s 77.5 million dogs, 35 million can be considered overweight. Of those, 6.7 million are considered obese. Those extra pounds can take an average of two years from our dogs’ lives. In addition, this extra weight contributes to joint problems, respiratory diseases and a host of other ailments that can affect a pet’s quality of life. Exercise for pets can manage some of these issues.

Effects of Exercise for Pets

Evenmore, it is not just your dog’s physical health that is adversely affected by a lack of exercise. Regular exercise and companionship are critical to your pet’s mental and physical well-being. A stimulating break in a lonely day can curb destructive behavior and alleviate separation anxiety in your pet. Exercise helps promote a daily bathroom routine and breaks the lifestyle cycle that leads to obesity.

Benefits for Your Pets

Also, a dog accustomed to regular exercise is generally a better candidate for training. Activity reduces stress and a calmer dog is less aggressive. A happier and calmer dog is usually less destructive. That’s good news for pet owners, too.

Getting Started with Exercise

Of course, like us, dogs that have spent their lives as couch potatoes are not ready to leap into a vigorous exercise routine. At TLC House and Pet Sitters, our sitters/walkers are aware of this. We are attuned to the exercise requirements and capabilities of different breeds at different times in their lives. We will not give a dog more to do on a walk than what they are capable of. 

exercise for pets

With most us working full-time, or even more, pets don’t always fit into a busy schedule. The good news is that with a 20-minute walk with a TLC sitter every day your dog will walk far enough in his lifetime to cross the United States? However, dogs aren’t the only pets that benefit from exercise. Your TLC sitter will play with your cat or let your hamster out for a run on the wheel during a scheduled visit.  Of course, in Arizona, all dog walking is kept to a minimum in the summer months.  TLC sitters will exercise your pets without having to walk dogs outside.  With TLC, exercise for pets is easier than you might think.

For More Information

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

Importance of Cat Litter Scooping

Importance of Cat Litter Scooping

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

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

We Scoop for Many Reasons

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

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

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

Cat Litter Scooping Made Easy

cat litter scooping

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

Holistic Medicine for Pets

Holistic Medicine for Pets

What is Holistic Medicine for Pets?

Keeping Your Pets Healthy, Naturally

We all want what’s best for our pets. Holistic medicine for pets opens up possibilities that may not be available with traditional medicine. However, there are things to consider.

holistic medicine for pets

Holistic care is based on using a body’s own natural healing powers to help the body heal itself. The four main therapies used to do so are:

  • Acupuncture: The insertion of needles at specific body points in an effort to restore the flow of energy to the body.
  • Chiropractic: The manipulation of the vertebrae to correct alignment.
  • Homeopathic: A system for treating disease based on the administration of minute doses of a drug that in massive amounts produces symptoms in healthy individuals similar to those of the disease itself. 
  • Herbal Medicine: The use of specific herbs and plants for medicinal purposes. 

Did you know that “holistic” medicine is a term used to encompass all of the different medical modalities? Above all, it means that it offers more opportunities to stay healthy.

Many of us have heard of or used Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Herbs, Homeopathy, and Nutritional Supplements. However, most people do not considered “holistic” medicine or these modalities to treat their pets.  The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Board) does not currently recognize all modalities as effective. This does not imply that holistic modalities are not effective. They are, however, best used in conjunction with regular Western veterinary medicine.

Holistic Plus Traditional Medicine

Holistic medicine is not all or nothing. Your pets can also benefit from eating healthier foods and finding traditional medical care when needed. Medical care can be with a traditional veterinarian or one specializing in holistic medicine. For example, use acupuncture to relieve pain and strengthen the body’s immune system. Herbal medicines can enhance nutrition and improve body synergy. Lastly, homeopathy can treat the deepest innate causes of your pet’s diseases.

When holistic medicine modalities are used in conjunction with Western medicine modalities, all of these “tools” create a more complete approach to treating your pet. A trained veterinarian may more fully serve the pet and owner with this type of approach. For instance, acupuncture by itself is only one part of holistic medicine. It is one branch and one theory of medicine. Consider using one tool to treat a pet in conjunction with other traditional methods.

Which Modality is Best?

No one modality is best. As a result, sometimes you need to use multiple tools to be most effective.   And, sometimes using one at a time will identify which your pet responds to best.

Why Choose Holistic Veterinary Care?

While most Western medical approaches may work for infectious diseases, holistic medicine uses preventative measures by treating the whole body. Holistic veterinary care is much more effective when treating chronic illnesses. These diseases may include heart disease, obesity, allergies, digestive problems, joint pain, emotional imbalances, cancer support and more. Traditional Western medicine is also helpful for these issues.  

For emergency situations requiring surgery, for example, Western medicine will save a pet’s life. In addition, holistic veterinarians will integrate typical diagnostic methods in their care regimen such as X-rays and laboratory tests.

What to Look For in a Holistic Practitioner?

A good holistic practitioner must have a thorough working knowledge of traditional medicine. They will also have certifications for each modality and demonstrate a thorough understanding of each. They must be able to work with your existing traditional veterinarian to maximize your pet’s ability to heal. Similarly, a holistic veterinarian must welcome the traditional expertise and integrate with them to optimize your pet’s ability to heal.  To clarify, a fully trained “holistic” Veterinarian will offer:

  • Acupuncture
  • Herbs
  • Homeopathy
  • Nutritional Supplements
  • Chiropractic
  • Western or Allopathic
  • Ayurvedic
  • Massage
  • Physical Therapy
  • Aromatherapy

Is Holistic Medicine for Pets Expensive?

Traditional medical treatments can be expensive for your pet. However, some holistic approaches offer less expensive and equally effective results. Herbs and nutritional supplements do not have patents. Therefore, the holistic veterinarian will be able to offer a wider array of remedies. This can make a significant difference, especially in chronic illness cases.

Find Out More About Holistic Medicine

If this has piqued your interest, pet owners can conduct a free search for holistic veterinarians by state or specialty at the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s website. As always, consult your veterinarian before trying any new treatments on your pets.

For More Information

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

Holiday Foods for Pets

Holiday Foods for Pets

Holiday Foods for Pets

What’s Safe and What to Avoid

holiday foods for pets

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

Turkey

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

Sweet Potatoes

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

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

Green Beans

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

Pumpkin

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

Bread

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

Avoid Feeding Your Pets These Foods, Any Time of Year

Walnuts and Raisins

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

Mac and Cheese

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

Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Onion

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

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

For More Information

If you have questions about holiday foods for pets or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com.

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets

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

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

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

Dogs

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

Cats

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

All Pets – Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets

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

For More Information

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

Diabetes in Dogs – Know the Warning Signs

Diabetes in Dogs – Know the Warning Signs

Diabetes in Dogs – Knowing the Warning Signs

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

diabetes in dogs

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

Understanding Glucose & Insulin

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

Glucose:

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

Insulin:

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

What is Diabetes in Dogs?

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

Insulin-deficiency Diabetes

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

Insulin-resistance Diabetes

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

diabetes in dogs

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

Signs of Diabetes in Dogs

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

Early warning signs of diabetes in dogs are:

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

More advanced symptoms include:

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

Treating Diabetes for Your Furry Friend

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

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

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

For More Information

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

Ear Infections in Dogs

Ear Infections in Dogs

Ear Infections in Dogs

A Common Ailment for Many

Your Dog’s Ears Need Protecting from Ear Infections

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

What causes ear infections in dogs?

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

What are the signs of an ear infection?

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

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

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

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

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

How do I treat my dog’s ear infections?

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

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

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

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

Additional Reading

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

For More Information

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

Heartworm in Dogs: How to Prevent It

Heartworm in Dogs: How to Prevent It

Heartworm in Dogs

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

heartworm in dogs

The Cause

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

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

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

Symptoms

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

Diagnosis

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

Prevention of Heartworm in Dogs

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

Treatment

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

heartworm in dogs
heartworm treatments may involve hospitalization

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

For More Information

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

Alternatives to Leaving Pets in the Car

Alternatives to Leaving Pets in the Car

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

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

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

5 Alternatives to Leaving Pets in the Car

1. Use the Drive Through

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

2. Ask a Friend or a Pet Sitter Like Us

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

3. Can Your Pet Come Inside with You?

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

4. Eating Outdoors Anyone?

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

5. Let Your Dog Skip the Trip

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

All the cool comforts of home

What to Do – Just in Case

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

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

Signs of Heatstroke in Pets

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

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

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

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

For More Information

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

Pandemic Related Separation Anxiety in Your Pet?

Pandemic Related Separation Anxiety in Your Pet?

In our new world of pandemic induced staying at home, separation anxiety is new for some pets.  Has your dog gotten used to you being home all day?  Has your cat enjoyed all the extra time she gets to lay in your lap?  If you are seeing some new behaviors in your pets as you prepare to leave your house or while you are away, read on.

separation anxiety
separation anxiety and destructive behavior

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a sign of distress in your pet.  It is triggered when a dog is upset because of separation from their pet parents, or the people they are most attached to.  Did you know that the anxiety is so extreme for some pets that they try hurt themselves trying to get out of the house?  You may notice that your pet becomes agitated as you prepare to leave the house.  They understand what is about to happen.

Some dogs will try to prevent their favorite people from leaving.  Then, right after their pet parents leave the house the separation anxiety becomes so bad they act out.  For instance, some animals will bark incessantly.  Others will begin destroying objects around the home.  Furthermore, some will urinate or defecate in the house.  Pets are not equipped the way humans are to cope with missing someone they love.

Did You Know:  Separation anxiety is often more prevalent in dogs who have spent time in a shelter?  Being surrendered by their family and left behind at a shelter leaves a lasting impression for many animals.

Treating Mild Separation Anxiety in Pets

 The goal in treating this reaction is teaching them to enjoy or at least tolerate being left alone. 

First, speak with your veterinarian to rule out any other underlying issues.  Then, take action to counter-condition the behavior.

This means focusing on developing an associate with being left alone with good things.  For instance, their favorite food or treat.  What does that mean?  Try offering your pet a treat puzzle each time you leave the house.  For example, try giving your dog a puzzle stuffed with something really tasty, like peanut butter, spray cheese, small training treats, frozen banana, or canned dog food.  Some toys can even be froze. This makes getting the treat take even more of your dog’s time. Most importantly, remove these toys as soon as you return home so that your dog only has access to them when he’s by himself.  They’ll begin to associate something fun with you getting ready to leave the house and their time alone.

separation anxiety toys
Puzzle toys help keep your pup busy while you’re away

Dogs with more severe cases of separation anxiety may require a different approach.  Speak with your vet for ideas and treatment plans.

Going Back to Work

As the world, and businesses, begin to get back to normal, your pet’s schedule is being disrupted again.  If you find yourself going back to the office one day or five days per week, this will trigger more separation anxiety episodes.

When you can, try to take your pet to work with you.  Since this is not realistic for many, hiring a pet sitter will help with their anxiety. Believe it or not, most pets suffering from separation anxiety are calmed as long as someone, even if not you, are with them. 

For More Information

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

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