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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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nail Clipping for Dogs – Helpful Tips

Nail Clipping for Dogs – Helpful Tips

Nail Clipping for Dogs

At TLC, we know that your dogs are more than just pets; they are family members. And because you want to care for them like one of the family, you do what you can to make sure that they look and feel their best. Nail clipping for dogs is more than just a manicure for them. Learn why dogs need to have their nails clipped and common mistakes to avoid at home. Also, you can trust most professional groomers to offer nail clipping for dogs as part of their services.

Why Clip Your Dog’s Nails?

Did you know that nails that go unclipped can cause your dog pain? Many veterinarians warn that unclipped nails can turn their paws into a splayed foot which reduces traction. Unclipped nails for extended periods of time can also lead to deformed feet or injure the tendons causing pain.

New Clippers

If this is your first time clipping your dogs nails, purchasing clippers meant for dogs only is your fist step. Never use clippers meant for people.  When searching for a pair of clippers, find a pair that is comfortable and easy to control.  There are clippers available that are motorized, which can sometimes decrease the amount of time spent on each nail and make the process a bit smoother for your furry friend.  Grinding your dogs nails also mitigates the chance that you’ll cut them to the quick (which causes bleeding). Take a look here at the 2018 list of best nail grinders for dogs.

Nice And Slow

Don’t rush through the process of clipping your dog’s nails. If you do, then there is a chance that you could tear the nails or clip them  too short. This is one of the important nail clipping tips for dogs because cutting the nails too short can sometimes cause excessive bleeding. Make your dog feel like he is special for getting his nails clipped instead of making it seem like a chore or a common task. Prop your dog’s paws on your leg to allow for as much comfort as possible. An idea to consider is to let someone hold a spoon of peanut butter for your dog to lick on while you’re clipping his nails. Massage your dog’s legs to relieve some of the stress in the muscles, making it easier to approach the paws while clipping the nails.

Offer A Soothing Touch

Before using clippers, you can place an item that has a similar feeling on your dog’s paws. This simple action can get your dog accustomed to something being close to the nails and the feet. Try to let your dog get used to the sound associated with the clippers by squeezing them nearby, getting closer to your furry friend until you’re able to gently clip each nail.

For More Information

If you have questions about nail clipping for dogs 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.

Keeping Your Dog Cool

Keeping Your Dog Cool

Are You Keeping Your Dog Cool Enough?

Your dog has been with you through thick and thin and it’s only natural to want to reward him with road trip fun or time at the beach. But when things outdoors get steamy, it’s easy for him to become dangerously overheated. Are you keeping your dog cool enough? These important tips will help you keep your best friend cool and safe all summer long.

Take It Easy

Leave the midday fetch games behind on hot, humid days. Enjoy exercising during cooler hours in the early morning or evening. Dogs are dependent on a steady supply of fresh water to stay cool, so pack a collapsible bowl and enough for both of you to stay well-hydrated.

Paws and Hot Pavement Don’t Mix

Asphalt and concrete pavement can reach temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit before the air temperature hits 80. This leaves your dog’s sensitive pads vulnerable to burns and encourages his body to absorb more heat. Try protective booties, or take a cue from your best friend and roll in the grass or pool instead!

Never Leave Your Dog in the Car

The temperature inside your car reaches dangerous levels within minutes on a warm day – even in the shade and with the windows cracked. Your dog is safest at home. If you hate leaving him behind, make it up to him by bringing back a special treat!

Signs of Overheating

Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate first aid and veterinary care. Senior dogs, puppies, snub-nosed breeds and those with serious medical conditions are at increased risk.

Signs include:

• Weakness
• Abnormal behavior and responses
• Difficulty breathing
• Dry eyes and gums
• Vomiting
• Drooling
• Restlessness
• Muscle tremors

If not treated promptly, these symptoms can quickly lead to seizures, coma and death. Prevention is the best medicine, but if you suspect your dog is suffering heat-related symptoms, take measures to cool him on the way to the veterinarian. If he can drink, offer him water. Apply cool, wet towels to his abdomen, armpits and head.

Don’t be afraid to take your best friend on a warm-weather adventure, just take these simple precautions and both you and your dog will have a fun and safe summer!

For More Information

If you have questions about keeping your dog cool 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.

Spay and Neuter for Dogs: What You Need to Know

Spay and Neuter for Dogs: What You Need to Know

Spay or Neuter for Dogs:

What You Need to Know

It has become a widely held belief that every pet owner should spay or neuter their dog without question. However, what spay and neuter advocates won’t tell you are some of the risks. Along with the benefits, there are risks to this life altering surgery. Not every dog must be spayed or neutered. Every pet owner should consider the options and make a personal choice, just as they would with every other decision relating to their pet.

spay neuterBenefits

Most of the benefits associated with spay or neuter procedures are true. Your dog will most likely calm down from his hormonal need to multiply, but this does not mean he will gain weight and become slow. He will maintain all of his natural energy and healthy weight as long as you provide a quality diet and daily exercise.

A spayed female is given prevention from mammary tumors and will never get Pyometra (a life threatening infection of the uterus). A male who is neutered also is given prevention from an enlarged prostate and testicular cancer, as his testicles will be fully removed in a typical neuter.

Risks

Your veterinarian should go over the risks involved in this surgery before-hand. These risks may include problems with anesthesia, especially in small dogs. If you have an experienced vet who is passionate about what they do, the risks are lowered. Going under anesthesia will lower your dog’s body temperature, which should be constantly monitored. Other problems, such as anaphylactic shock can also occur in a dog who has a reaction to a type of anesthesia.

Along with the typical risks of anesthesia from the surgery itself, you also have to keep an eye out for infection around the incision. While your dog is recovering, you must watch for signs of pain and discomfort. Your vet can provide medications for pain if it is severe.

The removal of a major body part will place stress on anyone’s body, even your dog’s! When a reproductive organ is removed, such as the uterus or the testicles, the dog’s body undergoes a change. Removing these organs adds a higher risk to joint problems, incontinence, and some types of cancers. If neutered before the age of 2, a dog has a significantly increased chance of hip dysplasia and major hair or coat changes.

spay and neuterThe Big Decision

Still unsure if you should spay or neuter your dog? First, you should ask yourself if you feel you can handle an intact animal. A dog who is kept intact has a higher likelihood of marking, or urinating on objects within your home. This can be addressed through training with diligence and consistency, but you must ask yourself if you have that kind of patience to deal with a dog urinating in a home at 2 years of age!

Almost any dog of any breed can be taught boundaries and to stay within their owners’ sight. However, keeping a watchful eye on a female dog in season can be challenging. If she is not monitored carefully, you could end up with an unwanted litter.

Not everyone is able to successfully raise a pet that is not spayed or neutered.  For those simply seeking a best friend, it may be best to get your pet ‘fixed’. The downside to an altered pet is that the increased risk of long term health problems. They may also require more vet care in their senior years. If you do choose to spay or neuter, it may be safer to wait until your dog reaches full maturity.  At 2 years old, risks associated with arthritis, mobility issues, and hip dysplasia, are decreased. For some who are up to the challenge, consider keeping your dog intact primarily for your pet’s health, but also to maintain a healthy wallet!

For More Information

If you have questions about spay or neuter procedures for dogs 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.