No one likes to leave a beloved family member behind when they leave the house. For decades the only choice pet owners had to care for their animals during a vacation was a boarding kennel or cattery. Now there are also professional pet sitters to provide care and companionship. What’s the difference?
Routine. We all get a bit cranky when our daily routine gets thrown out of whack. Animals are no different. A pet sitter will provide feeding, exercise and bathroom breaks on the schedule you have set up for your pet. At a kennel these needs are met on their schedule.
Reduce Stress. Keeping a regular schedule and same diet is especially important for any pet especially a puppy or kitten.
Same Environment. Staying in the familiar home environment will also reduce any stress on your pet during your absence. And who doesn’t prefer sleeping in his or her own bed – or couch, as your dog prefers?
Personal Attention. Even the best-staffed boarding kennels cannot deliver the same one-on-one attention as a pet sitter provides your dog or cat. A pet sitter will also be equipped to better handle special needs. At TLC House & Pet Sitting we can also stay with your pet through the night.
Multiple Pets. According to statistics from the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association half of all pet owners keep both cats and dogs in the house. Throw in fish and birds and reptiles and you have a menagerie that no boarding facility can handle.
Diseases. The close living quarters of a kennel promotes the spread of contagious diseases. You may not want to expose your pet, especially vulnerable young animals, to these conditions. Or you may not want to give your dog the vaccinations that some facilities require.
Communication. There is no substitute for Peace of Mind when you are away from your pet. At TLC lines are always open to your pet sitter with voicemail, texting and daily notes.
Other Services. During a home visit a pet sitter can gather mail, water plants and generally keep your house looking “lived-in” while you are away.
In-Home Pet Care, Dog Walking
During the summer months in the valley, temperatures can be lethal for humans as well as our pets. While outside with your dog, please be mindful of the signs of heat exhaustion, which could lead to a potentially fatal heat stroke.
Heat Exhaustion Signs in Dogs
1. Heavy panting – The first sign of heat exhaustion is heavy panting. Since dogs are incapable of sweating, their only way to cool their internal temperature is through panting.
2. Pay close attention to certain breeds – Certain breeds with heavy coats (such as Shelties or Chow Chows) and other breeds with short snouts making it harder for them to breath (such as Boxers and Pugs) are much more susceptible to heat exhaustion and should be watched closely while in hot temperatures.
3. Weakness – Dogs may experience weakness in extreme heat.
4. Disorientation – You may notice that your dog is unaware of his/her surroundings while experiencing heat exhaustion.
5. Vomiting – This may also occur during heat exhaustion.
Heat Stroke Signs in Dogs
1. Heavy panting – This is also the first sign of heat stroke.
2. Disorientation – Another characteristic of heat stroke.
3. Diarrhea – This often occurs in the event of a heat stroke.
4. Seizures and/or coma – Another very serious symptom of heat stroke.
It is very important to spot the signs of heat exhaustion early before a heat stroke occurs, as heat strokes are often times fatal. Pet owners who observe serious signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion should seek help from a veterinarian immediately. In the mean time, there are some things that can be done to cool down a dog displaying signs of heat exhaustion:
1. Provide plenty of water
2. Keep the pet in a cool resting place
3. Place a cool, wet towel around the dog’s neck
4. Ice packs may be placed on the dog’s arm pit area or neck area
Some very simple steps can be taken to avoid the serious effects of heat stroke and heat exhaustion in pets.
1. Avoid taking your dog out during the middle of the day in the hot summer months.
2. Walk dogs only during the morning and evening hours when the temperature is cooler.
3. Provide plenty of fresh water at all times.
4. Never leave your pet outside, tied up, unattended, or in a vehicle during the summer months.
In-Home Pet Care, Dog Walking
The beautiful spring weather may inspire you to enjoy the outdoors with your pets while working on the yard or garden. However, your pets may be in danger from hazardous contact with weed killers, insecticides, and poisonous plants.
Experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) offer some tips on what to look out for while gardening:
Insecticides – Always store insecticides in a safe area, out of your pets’ reach. APCC warns specifically, “The most dangerous forms of pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with the ingredients disyston or disulfoton, mole or gopher bait with zinc phosphide and most forms of rat poisons.”
Fertilizer – If ingested in large amounts, your pet could get very sick. Keep fertilizer out of your pets’ reach.
Toxic Plants – Some of the most common toxic plants include: sago palm, rhododendron, and azalea. For a full list of toxic yet common plants, please visit the ASPCA website.
In-Home Pet Care, Dog Walking
Your plans are set. In a just a few weeks time you’ll be off on a 10-day vacation to see the family. Or perhaps you have splurged on a luxurious cruise. You spent a bundle and the last thing you feel like doing is shelling out more to hire a professional pet sitter. Surely getting the neighborhood teenager to check in once in a while will do the trick.
Wrong! Leaving your pet and your home in the hands of someone you who is less than reliable could not only be dangerous for your pet, it can leave your house vulnerable to all sorts of accidents. Below you’ll find seven reasons why a professional pet sitter is the way to go:
- Alternative Pet Care. A professional pet sitter does more than feed your animal. He or she will make sure it gets the exercise it needs on a daily basis. They also are skilled to give your pet any medication should the need arise. It’s important that they stay on their own diet. This is for the health and safety of your pet.
- Tailored Services to Your Needs. Each pet and each home is unique. With TLC House and Pet Sitting Service you receive individualized care geared towards you and your pet’s needs. TLC pet sitters will tailor our services to you and your pet’s personal needs. We can combine any services for your needs and our pet sitters follow your specific home and pet care instructions.
- Convenience. You never have to deal with transporting your pet. With the combination of home care and pet sitting services in one, you take care of two big chores at the same time. Two things less to worry about.
- Safety. You want to be sure your loved one will be kept safe. If, by chance, your pet should fall ill or have an accident, a pet sitter doesn’t hesitate to take your animal to the clinic or ER. We have your information already set up with your vet when you fill out our vet release form.
- Quality, Personal Care. Just like people, pets get lonely. A good pet sitter comes in and actually pays attention to your animal. That’s what they are paid for! You’ll come home to a happier animal as a result. Your animal almost feels like you never left!
- You Work Long Hours. Some pets just don’t do well left alone for long periods at a time. If you have a demanding job that requires you to work well into the evening, then getting a professional pet sitter will ensure your pet gets the exercise and attention it needs.
- Keeping Your Pet Healthy. They say in their own home and are not over exposed to unnecessary vacantions. This eliminates exposure to illnesses from other animals
- Familiar environment. Sleeping in a strange place, in a new bed or cage can be stressful for an animal. Hiring a pet sitter ensures your pet’s routine remains nearly the same. It gets to stay in the home it knows and loves.
- You Want to Keep Your Friends. Even the best of friends get tired of looking after your animal each time you leave town. And the more you ask, the more irritating it becomes. After awhile they won’t be putting much effort into the task. Best to leave the job to the professionals.
- Peace of Mind. You want to enjoy your vacation, not worry about the safety of your pet or if your house has been broken into. A pet sitter will collect your mail, change the lights, and make the place look lived in. At TLC House and Pet Sitting Service our staff follows your specific house and pet care instructions, to the T. You come back to a home that appears to be lived while you were away.
So taking the time to find a trustworthy pet sitter will do more than keep your pet and home safe, it will give you peace of mind so you can enjoy your time away. If you work long hours or just take an occasional vacation, then getting a professional pet sitter ensures you return home to a healthy and happy pet.
In-Home Pet Care, Dog Walking
Pet Care Certification Credential
The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), the nation’s leading nonprofit professional pet sitting organization, is pleased to announce Kara Jenkins of TLC House & Pet Sitting Service in Chandler, AZ, has earned the NAPPS Certification credential.
The NAPPS Certification Program provides pet sitters with a broad-ranged and in-depth program in pet sitting. The state-of-the-art curriculum, which requires the time commitment of a semester college course, includes topics in pet care, health, nutrition and behavior, as well as, business development and management, and a complete pet first aid course.
TLC is a professional pet sitting service that cares for all types of pets in your home while you are away. We offer Daily, Mid-day walks, and overnight visits and promise to “treat” your pets as if you never left. We provide service in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert and west Mesa. TLC is recommended by veterinarians and groomers and we are Licensed, bonded and insured. TLC has over 20 years of experience and our mission is to provide qualified, experienced, trusted and personalized care to our clients offering them peace-of-mind while they are away from home. We are the best “Alternative to Boarding.”
“I’m very proud to be among the select group of professional pet sitters who have earned the NAPPS Certification credential,” said Kara Jenkins, owner.
“NAPPS Certification acknowledges that the pet sitter is a serious professional who has obtained a very high level of expertise through personal study,” said Cathe Delaney, CAE, executive director of NAPPS. “We congratulate Kara Jenkins for achieving this distinction.”
The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) is a national nonprofit trade association dedicated to promoting the concept of in-home pet care, supporting the professionals engaged in at-home pet care, promoting the welfare of animals and improving and expanding the industry of pet sitting. NAPPS provides valuable credibility, networking and education to help foster the success of their members. For more information about the NAPPS Online Certification Program, please visit www.petsitters.org.
A Scottsdale client recently told me a story of how his indoor / outdoor cat came home with scratches and bite marks after spending the night outside. His cat really enjoyed the freedom and stimulation of being outdoors, but after several dangerous encounters, this client decided to keep his kitty indoors.
Many veterinarians agree that indoor cats live longer due to lower incidents of illness, accidents, and stress. For a happier, healthier pet, consider keeping your cat indoors.
Here are 10 reasons to keep your cat safely indoors:
- Cat Parasites – Fleas, tapeworms, hookworms, and other parasites live outside.
- Accidents – Car accidents are a common cause of injury and death for outdoor cats.
- Feline Infection & Disease – Contact with other animals carrying infections and diseases such as: rabies, leukemia virus, and cat AIDS.
- Poisoning – Ingestion or exposure of toxic chemicals and plants could occur.
- Cat Fights – Fights with other animals such as: cats, dogs, raccoons, and skunks.
- Cat Allergies – Some cats may develop allergy symptoms if outdoors for extended periods of time.
- Early Detection – If kept indoors, you may quickly notice any changes in your pet’s health and behavior, in order to treat illnesses earlier.
- Reduce Stress – The stable environment that only a pet owner can provide while indoors, results in less stress for your beloved cats.
- Cleaner Home – By reducing your cats’ exposure to the outdoors, you are ridding your home of possibly harmful elements such as: dirt, disease, and bacteria.
- Longer, Happier Life – The facts are simple. By reducing the exposure to risks and stresses of the outdoors, you are providing a longer and happier life for your cat.
Making the decision to keep your cat indoors for safety and health reasons is a very personal choice – for you and your cat. In Scottsdale, we have coyotes, feral cats and homeless dogs, raccoons and other hungry animals roaming about – not to mention the occasional rattlesnake! Give us a call at TLC Pet Sitter for tips and advice for keeping your cat safe.
In-Home Care for Cats, Dogs, & All Pets
In order to understand the basics of feline diabetes it is best to understand how diabetes develops. When a body eats it converts food into energy. The pancreas, an organ lying deep in the abdomen below the stomach, aids in this conversion by secreting enzymes and hormones to regulate digestion. One of the hormones the pancreas secretes is insulin which helps to balance and regulate blood sugar levels.
Just as in human diabetes, there are different types of feline diabetes, mainly type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes occurs when insulin is not produced. When insulin is not present there is no regulation of blood sugar levels and instead of the glucose being utilized as energy in the body’s cells glucose ends up in the bloodstream. In type 2 diabetes insulin is produced; however, the body is not able to utilize the insulin, and again too much sugar ends up in the bloodstream.
Sometimes a cat is genetically predisposed to getting feline diabetes; however, one of the causes of diabetes in cats is the same as the cause of diabetes in humans, obesity. Eating a high carbohydrate diet increases fat cells which in turn secrete a substance that decreases a body’s response to insulin and creates sugar imbalances. Furthermore, cats are designed for metabolizing proteins and fats, not carbohydrates. Controlling the amount of carbohydrate intake your cat has can be an effective method of controlling diabetes. High fiber and high-complex carbohydrate diets have also been useful in helping overweight cats reach their goal weight. Proper nutrition is vital and nutrition counseling for your specific cat should be discussed and planned with your veterinarian in order to achieve optimal results.
Other risk factors for feline diabetes includes age (older cats are more likely to get feline diabetes than younger cats), gender (males more likely than females), hormone imbalances, chronic pancreatitis, and certain medications.
The most common symptoms of feline diabetes are an increase in appetite, an increase in thirst, an increase in urine production, and weight loss. Lethargy may also be reported. Left untreated feline diabetes can lead to ketoacidosis, liver disease, bacterial infections, unhealthy skin, and neuropathy. Feline diabetes does not cause the kidney disease and blood vessel disease than most people associate with human diabetes. A diagnosis of feline diabetes can cause a shortened life span; however, feline diabetes does not have to be a death sentence as with proper care and management of the condition a cat may lead a normal life and even have temporary remissions from the disease.
The diagnosis of feline diabetes requires blood testing and urine testing. Once diagnosed, treatment should begin immediately. Treatment for feline diabetes depends on the severity of the presentation. For more advanced cases, fluid therapy and insulin injections are needed. For less severe cases, oral medications, insulin injections, and dietary changes are needed, with twice daily insulin injections being the most commonly recommended treatment protocol. At home blood monitoring and insulin injections need to be performed on a relatively strict schedule. Graze feeding is not recommended as careful monitoring of dietary intake is essential in determining if there is a shift in the cat’s eating or drinking habits. Weight and urine production also need to be monitored closely for any variations that may indicate the diabetes is progressing. Periodic veterinary examinations are also necessary.
Early detection is a key in maintaining your cat’s health. If feline diabetes is detected early enough a low carbohydrate diet may allow the pancreas to recover and start producing enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels again. This may lead to remissions and temporary discontinuation of medication. While there is no cure for diabetes, with proper veterinary treatment and consistent, loving home care a cat can lead a normal, happy, and healthy life.
Scottsdale , Arizona
Dog Care, Walking, & Pet Sitting
Pet First Aid Supplies You’ll Want to Keep at Home
While pet sitting for a client in Scottsdale, AZ, I realized that 2 of the dogs had been in a fight while I was away. One dog had a cut on her eye lid, while the other dog had some minor scratches and bites to the face. Fortunately, it was nothing too serious, but it reminded me of the importance of having a pet first aid kit in the home. Here is a great check list for starting your own pet first aid kit. It could save your pet’s life!
1. Important phone numbers and medical records including: your veterinarian, your local animal hospital, and Animal Poison Control Center: 888-4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435)- there may be a fee for this call
2. Leash, board or blanket to use as a stretcher, and kennel to transport your pet
3. Digital thermometer- the temperature must be taken rectally rather than orally
4. Eye dropper or syringe without needle for oral treatments and flushing wounds
5. Gauze which can be used for wrapping wounds or muzzling- don’t use a muzzle if your pet is vomiting
6. Bandages or clean cloth, and adhesive tape for bandages – do not use adhesive bandages like Band-Aid on your pet
7. Milk of Magnesia
8. Activated charcoal for poison absorption
9. Hydrogen peroxide (3%) to induce vomiting – always talk to your vet or Animal Poison Control first before inducing vomiting
Dog Walking, Pet Sitting
When the weather is chilly, take a few minutes to think about your furry friends.
Here are some tips to care for your pets in cold weather.
- Keep your cat indoors during cold weather, as it is very possible he or she could freeze if left outside.
- 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.
- Always keep tags on your dogs, and never let them off the leash in the winter time. Dogs have a more difficult time tracking scents in the winter time, especially in snow. They can get lost more easily.
- Make sure to wipe your pet’s paws when they come indoors after walking in snow or ice. If they lick their paws, they could potentially ingest harmful chemicals such as: antifreeze and salts used on icy roads.
- Keep your dog bundled up during the winter months. Never shave your long haired dog during the winter. Consider putting your short haired dog in a warm sweater for the winter.
- Be sure to dry your pet completely after baths if you plan to take them for a walk. Never let them walk outside in the cold with a wet coat.
- 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 dogs who are very active outside during the winter months, pet owners should be sure to increase their food supply, particularly their protein consumption.
- Provide a warm, safe place for your pets to sleep in the winter time such as a soft dog bed and blanket.
Information provided by ASPCA website. For more information on this topic and many others, please visit www.aspca.org.
Dog Walking, Pet Sitting
TLC House & Pet Sitting Service
It can happen to any dog, but it usually happens to big dogs. It strikes males more than females, and if not treated, can kill within hours. Bloat or GDV is similar to stomach gas at first and can be treated in early stages with a dose of Mylanta Gas, Gas-X, or any product containing simethicone.
SIGNS OF BLOAT:
- Enlarged / distended abdomen
- Showing discomfort
- Attempts to throw up
Not every case is extreme, and the problem may go away, but if it does not, or gets worse, it becomes a medical emergency. Contact your veterinarian immediately if swelling continues or worsens. A vet can insert a tube into the stomach to relieve the pressure, but you have to get your dog to the vet quickly.
DANGERS OF EXTREME BLOAT:
- Pressure on heart, lungs
- Reduce blood flow to heart, spleen
- Cardiac arrest
- Stomach burst
- Stomach torsion, “twisted stomach”
There is no direct cause and affect with this problem, such as a bacteria or virus that a vet can treat with antibiotics or vaccinate against. Bloat is usually the result of a combination of factors that might have no affect on most dogs, but can bring about a life-threatening situation in others. Owner awareness of the problem is the first step in preventing its occurrence.
- Eat smaller meals
- Drink smaller amounts of water at a time
- No vigorous play right after meals
- Reduce overall stress
For more information, please visit ASPCA.
Dog Walking, Pet Sitting
TLC House & Pet Sitting Service