Top 5 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Bird Sitter

Birds are not dogs!! This may seem obvious, but many bird owners have been surprised (not in a good way) when their bird becomes distressed or ill while they are away. Proper care for birds is important as they are sensitive to many environmental conditions. So if you want to find a reliable, quality sitter for your bird, we’ve put together a list of questions you should ask.

Top 5 questions you should ask before you hire a bird sitter

1. What previous experience do you have with birds?
2. Are you bonded and insured?
3. What happens if my bird gets sick while I am away?
4. How many times a day will my bird be checked, and how much time will you spend interacting with him?
5. Can I call you for progress reports? Will you text me photos of my bird? (ok, that’s really 2 questions 😉 )

Snaggle Foot Pet Care Specialists receive training in basic pet care plus important skills like Pet CPR and Pet First Aid. Contact us for more information on how we can care for your feathered family!


7 Simple Things To Keep Your Pet Healthy

We’re in the middle of National Pet Week®! And since we know you are an uber-caring pet owner, we thought you’d like to know that there are 7 simple things you can do to be a responsible pet owner:

  1. Keep your pet at a healthy weight.
  2. Exercise your pet.
  3. Feed your pet a balanced, nutritious diet.
  4. Have your veterinarian examine your pet at least once a year to make sure your pet is healthy and to help detect problems earlier.
  5. Vaccinate your pet against potentially deadly diseases such as distemper, parvo, panleukopenia and rabies.
  6. Keep your pet free of parasites (fleas and ticks, heartworm, etc.) – consult your veterinarian for the best product for your pet.
  7. Spay or neuter your pet.

Brag Posters Work!

Brag posters are an easy marketing tool to communicate the value of professional pet sitters and dog walkers, and the positive effect this service has on any pet.

You can use any photos of your own pet, your friends’, or ideally your client’s, and show case what positive change occurred in the pet since the pet parent started using your services.

Then hang these posters anywhere you find pet parents foot traffic. For example: pet stores, groomers, veterinarians, etc. But also think outside the box and consider places such as: hair salons, spas, gyms, local grocery stores, and coffee shops. You can even create a story line and up-date it regularly to engage people in how a dog/cat/bird is doing.

Pet parents will connect with the positive effect you are having on a pet, and the peace of mind you provide to the owner. This is also a way to highlight some of your other white glove services, such as: pet taxi, medication, bringing in mail, or watering flowers.

Be creative! You do so many wonderful things – don’t be shy – brag about it!

Examples of poster layouts:Brag-Poster-Bradley

Brag-Poster-Buddy

Brag-Poster-Lovebug

Brag-Poster-Sadie


Managing Your Online Reputation

Did you know that 97% of US consumers look at online reviews about local businesses?

According to Forbes, about 90% of global sales still happen in physical stores, but 97% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses and three in four people who use their smartphones to search for something nearby end up visiting a local business within a day.

Keep in mind, 90% of customers say that what they decide to buy is influenced by positive online reviews, and 94% will use a business with at least four stars. Since you run a small business, the very best thing you can do to attract more customers is to maintain a high star-rating on the most popular review sites.

And, you have more control of your online star ratings than you know. First, you can proactively encourage your customers to post reviews about their experience — 68% of customers will leave a review if asked. This activates your happiest customers, buries any unfair negative reviews and ensures that your business’ “review ratio” is healthy.

Second, you can use online reviews to uncover any legitimate blind spots and show acts of good faith for all the public to see. Engaging with dissatisfied customers in online review forums can actually lead to repeat business, and up to 70% of complaining customers will give the business another shot if their concerns are resolved.

So, how to get started? There are 5 basic steps:

1. Determine which platforms your consumers are using the most and which are the most influential to your business.

2. Make sure you have an active account on each of these platforms, have full control over your business pages, and understand each platform’s policies.

3. Go through all existing reviews, making sure to flag inappropriate or spam reviews and respond to any negative feedback.

4. Try to do this at least once a week and create a formal process for someone to easily follow, so they can assist you and make sure the management is happening.

5. Come up with a comprehensive strategy to increase your positive reviews and make responding to negative reviews successful. Video reviews can be especially effective, but you can also solicit reviews and feedback via email or social media.

But Now You Have A Negative Review.

The Web has given people enormous power to damage a brand. Negative reviews on sites like Yelp or Angie’s List can crush a business.

And let’s face it, nobody likes to be criticized. If you are in business, though, it’s going to happen. How you react to criticism can make the difference between a meaningless annoyance and a full-blown crisis.

Step 1: Stop & Think.

The key here is to keep a cool head and analyze the situation. Contact the Home Office immediately, and we’ll help you with the best course of action. And while there is no one right way of responding, we have a few things for you to think about before reacting:

Are the negative statements true? If so, deal with the issue.

Social media provides tremendous customer service tools. Acknowledge your fault and spell out how you will rectify the situation. When possible, take the conversation offline. If the issue has criminal or civil implications, check with your attorney before taking any action.

Who is the source of the negative comments? This is hugely important.

If it is one unhappy customer and you have dozens of positive testimonials or reviews, it may be better just to ignore it.
If it is a journalist or blogger, then it is important to engage him/her. Show your respect. See if you can find a way to change their mind. If you have gotten positive reviews from other journalists or bloggers, those can outweigh one of two negative statements.
If it is a disgruntled former employee, then that statement can be overwhelmed by positive reviews from other employees.

Are the statements libelous?

Some people approach social media as the Wild West, where rules and laws don’t apply. The fact is – laws do apply. If the attack on you or your business is libelous, we’ll help you determine if you should take action. Sometimes sending a cease and desist letter is enough to get the offending posts or comments removed.

Step 2: Be Civil

There is a reason why they call it social media. The Web is a place where communities are created, where conversations take place and where relationships are established. As in any community or relationship, there will be disputes. Handle them professionally, civilly, with grace and even with humor.

This will humanize you and your business and serve to establish you as positive member of the community.

Step 3: Learn from the Experience

Conversations on the Web are always evolving. As in any crisis situation, try to learn from your mistakes and use that knowledge to improve the way you do business. If there were complaints about your services or your employees, take those complaints to heart.

Think of social media as a massive focus group. Criticism can be very healthy for a business owner. It can provide a wake-up call and it can be a great test of your customer service, your flexibility and your leadership. The key is how you respond – and the Home Office is here to help you navigate the situation.
Have you had to deal with a negative review? What steps did you take, what did you learn, and how did it turn out? Please share your story with us so the rest of the network can learn from your experience: info@snagglefoot.com


Industry Insights 2019

There’s no question—the pet industry continues to thrive.

In its 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) reported that 68 percent of U.S. households own a pet (84.6 million homes). Because of this, the need for profes-sional pet sitters and dog walkers remains high.

The APPA also found that Americans  spent $69.5 billion on their pets in 2017—more than ever before.

Included in this total is $6.16 billion spent on pet ser-vices, which include pet sitting and dog walking.In an interview for Pet Sitter’s World magazine, Bob Vetere, APPA president, shared that according to an APPA survey, 35 percent of all dog owners report some use of pet sitters over a six month period. In addition, 67 percent of cat owners report such use. The trend in use has remained high for cats. And for dogs, it has shown a significant increase versus past surveys and appears to be continuing to rise in use by both baby boomers and millennials.

PSI’s most recent pet-owner survey (conducted in January 2018) found that 67 percent of the pet own-ers surveyed had used the services of a professional pet sitter or dog walker in the previous year.

While there was once concern that the demand for pet-care services may decline as baby boomers (and their pets) aged, recent data supports an ongoing—and likely growing—need for pet-care services.


In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, “employment of animal care and service workers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.”  (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics:http://www.bls.gov/ooh/)

The high level of pet ownership, combined with the increase in ownership of a variety of types of pets, equals an increased need for professional pet-care providers, including those who specialize in specific pets (“cats only” pet sitting, for example).

And, it’s not just about cats and dogs. The National Pet Owners Survey found that many households own other pets such as small animals, reptiles or saltwater fish.Breakdown of pet ownership in the U.S. according to the 2017-2018  APPA National Pet Owners Survey:

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Top 10 Pet Toxins

March 18-24 is National Animal Poison Prevention Week. This week serves as a reminder to all pet owners to watch for both natural and processed pet toxins, especially as we prepare for spring cleaning and as plants start to poke their way through the snow.

Pet Age Magazine, along with the Pet Poison Helpline, have listed the top cat and dog toxins to watch out for. These toxins are listed by their commonality, so watch especially for those highest on the lists. Keep this list handy to help keep your pet healthy year round.

Top Ten Cat Toxins

Lilies: All plants in the lily family, if ingested, can cause kidney failure in cats. These plants are common, so be especially careful what types of plants you have accessible in your home.
Household cleaners: Watch especially for concentrated products like toilet or drain cleaners, which can cause chemical burns.
Flea and tick prevention products for dogs: Certain pyrethroid based products can cause tremors and seizures in cats and are potentially deadly if ingested.
Antidepressants: According to Pet Age, cats seem strangely drawn to these medications. Keep them tightly sealed and out of reach, as they can have damaging neurological and cardiac effects on cats.
NSAIDs: Drugs like Ibuprofen found in Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc are even more dangerous to cats than they are to dogs. Even those meant for pets should be used with caution.
Prescription ADD/ADHD medication: Can cause tremors, seizures or other cardiac problems that could be fatal to cats.
Over the counter cough, cold & allergy medicine: Those containing acetaminophen (like Tylenol) are particularly dangerous can do damage to red blood cells and cause liver failure.
Insoluble Oxalate Plants: Other common household plants like the philodendron and pothos can cause oral irritation, foaming at the mouth and inflammation.
Household Insecticides: Most sprays and powders are fairly safe, but it’s best to keep cats away until the product is fully dried or settled.
Glow Sticks: Though these may seem like cute toys to cats, if punctured, the chemicals inside can cause pain and foaming at the mouth. If exposed to these, food and water are a safe remedy.

Top Ten Dog Toxins

Chocolate: Dark and bakers chocolate are the worst, and milk chocolate in large amounts can also be dangerous.
Xylitol (sugarless gum sweetener): Also found in some candies, medications and nasal sprays, this sweetener causes a fast drop in blood sugar and possible liver failure in dogs.
NSAIDs: Drugs like Ibuprofen found in Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc. Dogs are not good a digesting these and the continued exposure can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.
Over the counter cough, cold & allergy medicine: Particularly those containing acetaminophen or decongestants.
Mouse and Rat Poison: Even small amounts may cause internal bleeding or swelling of the brain in dogs.
Grapes & Raisins: May cause kidney damage.
Insect bait stations: While these stations themselves are not poisonous to dogs, pets who are intrigued by the plastic casing and swallow it may experience obstruction in their bowels.
Prescription ADD/ADHD medication: Can cause tremors, seizures or other cardiac problems that could be fatal to dogs.
Glucosamine joint supplements: These can be extremely tasty for pets, and in excess can cause diarrhea or even liver failure in dogs.
Silica gel packets & oxygen absorbers: While the gel packets found in new shoes or purses do not pose a significant threat, oxygen absorbers found in food packages, even pet treats, can cause iron poisoning.

Pet Poison Helpline online is a resource available for pet owners to learn what other poisons are out there and how to respond if your pet is exposed to something harmful. Should your pet be exposed to any of these or other toxins that are cause for concern, contact your local vet or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.

For additional information and resources about preventing pet poisoning, please click here:

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Tips On Caring For Your Senior Cat

Where has the time gone? Your little kitten is now a grey whiskered kitty cat that might need a little more love and attention. Knowing that your cat’s needs will change over the years makes you one step closer to making your cat’s life happier and healthier. 

With that, we’ve come up with some tips on caring for your senior cat. Remember to contact your veterinarian if your elderly cat is showing signs of serious illness. 

Schedule Regular Wellness Visits

As they age, cats will need to see their veterinarian more frequently. Developing a relationship with your cat’s veterinarian will allow subtle changes in health to be monitored and noticed. Visiting the vet can be scary and stressful for some cats. Getting him used to traveling and his carrier, as well as keeping the visit as calm and relaxed as possible will reduce your cat’s stress and make the vet visit a positive experience. 

PRO TIP: Come up with a list of questions before the appointment that you might have for your vet about your cat’s senior health.

Know Your Cat

You know your cat better than anyone else. If you see small changes in appetite, energy or behavior tell your veterinarian. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Signs of ‘slowing down’ and loss of appetite can sometimes indicate more serious issues. As we all know, cats can be very sneaky and hide if they aren’t feeling well. Keep a watchful eye and don’t ignore the signs. 

Watch What They Eat

Changing your cat’s diet to meet their nutritional needs can help keep your senior cat healthy and happy. As stated above, loss in appetite can be a sign for more serious issues, so keeping an eye on their eating habits can help you monitor your seniors’ health. A quick weight loss or gain should be an alarm to schedule a visit with your cat’s veterinarian. Many serious diseases, such as hyperthyroidism, intestinal disease, chronic diseases, and diabetes are tied to rapid changes in weight. 

Look at the Litter

Even though it is stinky business, your senior cat’s waste can tell a lot about their health. Have you seen a change in your cat’s doo? Change in color and consistency are indicators that something has changed in their nutritional intake or health. Cat urine can also be cues for many common illnesses in senior cats, like kidney disease. If your cat isn’t making it to the litter box, they could be telling you something is wrong. Urinary infections, constipation, arthritis and muscle weakness are just some of the reasons that something is not right.  

Environment Enrichment

They aren’t as young as they used to be, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t like to play. Playing with your senior cat with interactive toys, puzzle toys, and leash walking can keep them fit and their minds sharp. It can also keep their joints and muscles healthy, too! In addition, allowing for easier accessible sleeping spaces with extra padding and warmth are some home improvements that you may want to make for your senior cat.

Adjusting to your cat’s needs can allow for your cat to live a long and healthy life. We hope that these tips on caring for your senior cat are helpful and informative. For more blogs to come, stay tuned to our blog page, “For Pet Lovers.” 


Benefits of Walking Your Dog

Spring is finally here! That means it is the perfect time to go outside and get in a good walk with your pup!

Grab your dog’s leash, put on your walking shoes and take your dog for a walk around the block. Not only is walking good for your dog, but it is also good for you, too! 

Allowing your dog to get out some energy prevents him from getting bored and destructive, as well as working on training opportunities and social skills. On average, dogs should have at least a minimum of 30 minutes of activity a day. Unfortunately, many dog owners do not walk their dogs regularly. We have provided three reasons why walking your dog is important: 

Walking keeps your dog in-shape. Pet obesity is a common and dangerous disease many pet parents and veterinarians see nowadays. Showing our love for our dogs with treats and cookies are good, but taking a daily walk is a better alternative! Walking your dog can help shed and keep those unwanted pounds away. Having a healthy and fit dog benefits their physical health immensely! 

Improves socialization and mental health. Get out with your dog and see the world together! Taking your dog for walks allows him to experience environmental stimuli that help them learn about the world. Going on new adventures and walks allows your pup to take in new sights and smells that they couldn’t get at home or in the yard alone. Walking can also prevent your pup from getting lonely and bored at home and innovating ways of negative entertainment, such as destructive chewing and barking. 

Strengthens Your Bond. We think this is the best benefit of all! Taking your dog for a walk strengthens the bond between you and your dog. Spending quality time together on walks creates trust, behavioral development and communication between you and your dog. 

Now, get moving and take your dog for a walk! For more information about the importance of walking your dog, read the article by Dr. Karen Becker, Walking Your Dog: How to Do It Well and Why It’s So Important.”

And if you’re short on time, don’t forget to contact your local Snaggle Foot dog walkers! We are ready to help keep your dog fit and happy! 
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Mid-winter safety reminder for pets!

With snow flurries and chilly temperatures in the forecast, pet parents need to prepare their four-legged family members for winter. There could be some hidden dangers that you may not have thought of during the winter months. But, we’ve got you covered! 

Continue reading to learn more about how you can keep your pets safe and sound from winter dangers. 

Hypothermia – Even though animals have a built-in fur coat, that does not mean that they do not get cold or feel the effects of freezing temperatures. The normal body temperature of your pet can range from 100-102.5°F, but if their temperature falls below that range, they could suffer from hypothermia. Signs for hypothermia can range from shivering to paleness. Similar to the human effects of hypothermia, it can cause pets to go into a coma, heart failure and even, death. In addition, hypothermia can cause frostbite, which is caused from the lack of blood flow to limbs, feet, ears, etc. Remember, if it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your animals. So be safe and keep your pets inside.

De-Icing Salts – Very commonly used on sidewalks and driveways to prevent ice, de-icing salts (rock salt) can cause a major threat to your beloved pets. Rock salt can irritate paws or make your pets sick if ingested because it contains sodium chloride or calcium chloride. It is easily transferred to your pet’s paws if they have been out for their daily walk or let outside to do their business on a sidewalk that has been treated with rock salt or de-icing products. Even though there are pet-friendly de-icing salts and products, make sure your clean your pet’s paws after being outside to prevent them from licking the salts off. You can apply olive oil or other paw protectants, like pet booties, to shield your pet’s from salt on the icy ground. If you have any more concerns about de-icing salts or you think your pet might have ingested it, please contact the Pet Poison Helpline or visit their website.

Antifreeze – In many garages you can find Antifreeze as it is a common item used in cars. Unfortunately, antifreeze is toxic to animals. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol and can cause acute kidney failure in pets. If your pet has ingested antifreeze, it is critical you get your pet to the veterinarian immediately! Some signs that your pet has been poisoned from antifreeze are vomiting, drooling, seizures, and walking “drunk.” If left untreated, it can be fatal. Again, if you have any more concerns about antifreeze or you think your pet might have ingested it, please contact the Pet Poison Helpline or visit their website.

Snow Balls – After playing outside with your pet, you might notice that they are limping or whining with each step. If you look closely at their paws and in-between their toes, you might find snow that has formed into balls clinging to your pet’s fur. These little snow balls pull your pet’s fur which can cause discomfort and pain. Make sure that your pet does not have any snow balls on them, you don’t want to have a snow ball fight in the house! 

Dry Skin – Similar to how humans react to the cold, pets can also get dry skin from the cold. Your pet’s skin might become itchy and flaky during these months. Try to towel dry your pets when they come in from the cold and keep your home humidified. In addition, try to bathe your pets minimally. Giving your pets baths too frequently can remove essential, natural oils that their bodies make to avoid dry skin. If your pet is stinky and needs a bath, use a moisturizing pet shampoo. 

We hope this information on winter dangers for pets helps keep your pet happy and healthy this winter! Stay warm and remember, if you have any further questions, or need additional information, please consult your veterinarian!


Child Safety with Pets

There are many benefits to children having pets, from increasing self-esteem to learning nurturing techniques and developing a loving bond. But children and pets need to learn how to interact with one another to create a safe environment to avoid bites, scratches and injury. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and we cannot guarantee complete safety; humans, animals and life can be unpredictable. Even the most trustworthy animals and children can have accidents. Continue reading to learn more about teaching your children pet safety rules. 

  • Never leave children alone unsupervised with your pets. 
  • Do not allow children to pet or approach animals while they are chewing on their toys or treats, eating, sleeping, or when they are in their crates or cages. This also includes while animals are overly stimulated or excited — when someone comes to the door or when the dog is barking at a squirrel. 
  • Teach children how to pet your animals gently. No pulling or tugging on limbs, ears, tails, etc.
  • Avoid loud noises or sudden movements when around pets. You don’t want to scare them! 
  • Teach your children to always ask to pet other people’s animals. If the owner says yes, teach your children how to appropriately approach an animal:
    • Never run up to a stranger’s animal — always approach slowly. 
    • Keep quiet and still. 
    • Reach out with your hand with your palm up to allow the animal to smell your hand first.

We hope this blog entry is informative and will help create a safe environment for your pets and children. Remember, there needs to be respect and care on both sides.

For more resources and information on children safety around pets, visit: Healthy Children and Whole Dog Journal


Winter Activities for Active Dogs

Cold temperatures and snow can make it difficult to walk and exercise active dogs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the “gym” inside. Below are some great ideas to keep your dog happy, entertained and fit during the winter months!

  • Puzzle Games and Treat-Stuffed Toys: Puzzle games and toys that are stuffed with treats are great solutions to keep active dogs stimulated and entertained. They can keep these busy bodies occupied for hours with delicious treats and goodies. Click to download our free PDF for three yummy homemade recipes for your dog’s Kong or other treat dispensing toys.
  • Hallway Fetch: No one wants to go out in the freezing cold or deal with snow and ice, but getting in that game of fetch is too important to wait for warmer weather. Simply find the longest hallway in your home and toss the ball or toy gently for your dog to chase. Be careful to secure breakable objects that might be nearby and throw the ball gently. Remember: this is only a light game of fetch.  
  • Hide n’ Seek: This one is fun and very similar to the childhood game. Firstly, have your dog sit and stay or have a friend or family member hold your dog while you hide. After 30 or so seconds call your dog’s name to come to you. The dog should follow your voice and try to find you! Call your dog’s name once every 10-ish seconds (if the dog struggles to find you, call out more). Once the dog finds you reward with a lot of praise, treats, and/or toys! 
  • Trick Training: Trick training is a great way to keep your active dog’s mind in shape! Decide on five or so tricks you want to teach your dog this winter and work on them daily while the weather is frightful. Visit this link to a great YouTube video for fun trick ideas. And if you need more help in teaching your dog these tricks, simply search on YouTube for ideas.
  • Dog Agility Classes: Another great option to keep your dog fit this winter is enrolling in a dog agility class at your local dog training facility. Dog agility is a great and fun sport for you and your dog! It promotes teamwork, engagement, and exercise. Or if dog agility isn’t for you or your dog, you can look into rally, nose work, obedience and lots more!

These tips are great ways to keep your dogs happy and healthy over the winter, but daily walks and outings should still be a big part of your dog’s routine, no matter how brief or short they might be. We hope these indoor activities, in addition to your dog’s daily walks, help keep your active dog happy and healthy this winter!


Healthy Recipes to Keep Your Dog Entertained This Winter

When the temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall, pet-parents need to find interactive and stimulating games and activities that keep their active dogs busy, happy and healthy!

That’s why we believe that Kong toys and other similar treat dispensing toys are perfect for entertaining our four-legged friends!

Check out three of our favorite yummy treat dispensing and Kong recipes for that are easy to make for your pups: Click to download, they’re free!


Safety Tips for the Holidays

’Tis the season! The holidays are just around the corner and it is important to know the unhealthy foods, dangerous decorations and safety, and health measures you can take with your pets to help them have a festive time of year. 

Keep the Routine!

It’s important to try to keep your pet’s every day routine, such as food and exercise, normal to keep them comfortable and relaxed (we all know the holiday season can be a bit stressful). 

There is No Place Like Home for the Holidays

A very important part of the holiday season is spending it with friends and family.

  • Make sure your pets have a quiet room in which to to relax and retreat. With the constant flow of people, some pets can become overwhelmed and stressed, that is why it is important to have a space for them to unwind and get away from the holiday hustle and bustle. 
  • In addition to that, some of your guests might be staying the night. Make sure all medication or other harmful products are zipped and packed up out of reach from your pets.
  • Also, make sure your holiday guests understand your pets’ personal boundaries and comfort zones. 

Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire

The holiday season is known for delicious meals and sweet treats. Even though these extremely scrumptious meals can be hard to resist, some of these foods can be harmful to pets. 

  • Holiday cookies and candies can contain xylitol that can be extremely lethal to pets! Keep all sweets and goodies away for your four-legged children including chocolate which can also be harmful.
  • Celebrating the holidays with adult beverages and cocktails can be all fun and games until your pet has a little too much. Pets cannot have alcohol; it can lead to illness, respiratory issues, and death. Please drink responsibly.
  • Comfort food is a perfect way to indulge in the festivities but watch out, pets should not have spicy or fatty foods. These foods can cause pets to have nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. The holiday turkey bones can also cause harm to your pets, such as digestive tract obstructions. Keep a watchful eye on what your pets are eating over the holiday meals. 
  • Instead, keep your pet’s healthy treats handy to help them feel included and fulfilled!

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly

Holiday decorations play a very big role when getting into the holiday spirit. Unfortunately, some holiday decorations can cause harm and hurt pets, so here are some holiday decoration safety tips! 

  • Be sure your Christmas tree is secured down so your furry-family members do not tip it over or cause it to fall. Also, make sure your pets are not ingesting or getting into tree fertilizer and stagnant tree water, it can cause sickness, diarrhea, and nausea. 
  • Christmas lights can bring holiday cheer, but their wires can cause pet-parents fear. Make sure pets cannot get to holiday lights and ornament wires and batteries. These can cause electrical shock, burns, and damage to the digestive system and mouths of your pet. 
  • In addition to artificial holiday decorations, natural decorations can also cause harm to your fuzzy-friends. Holly can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested by your pets. Poinsettias can also cause vomiting and diarrhea, along with irritation in the month and lips. Mistletoe can cause your pet to suffer from cardiovascular and gastrointestinal issues. Specifically, in cats, holiday lilies can cause kidney failure. 
  • Tinsel is a great way to decorate your home for the holidays, but it can cause a lot of trouble for your pet. If digested, pets can suffer from vomiting, dehydration, obstruction in the digestive system, and can lead to surgery. 
  • To help your pets be more inclined to stay safe, give them plenty of toys like treat dispensing toys and catnip for the kitties, to keep them out of trouble. 

With these safety precautions and tips, we hope you and your pets have a healthy and happy holiday!


Indoor Cat Games and Toys

There are many luxuries to the indoor life that house cats get to experience, from soft beds and warm laps to food that they don’t have to catch. But with all these perks, how do indoor cats stay occupied and active? It is very important to make time to play with your cat daily. This will help keep your kitty cat fit and in-shape, promoting muscle tone and circulation. In addition to physical health, play can encourage mental health, as well! Play sessions can reduce stress and boredom, along with building a strong bond between you and your cat. We have a couple of games and toys to keep your indoor cat happy and healthy!

Engaging Puzzle Game

You will need an old shoebox, some treats, and your cat’s favorite toy. Use a box-cutting knife to cut open a variety of holes into the shoebox. Fill the shoebox with cat toys, catnip, and treats and close the box up with tape. Let your cat work and enjoy the goodies inside! 

Feather on a String

This game is perfect game for indoor cats to get some exercise and really easy to make! Simply tie some feathers or a small cat toy to a long piece of string, then tie the other end of the string to a stick. Wave the stick above your cat’s head and engage them to catch the feather or toy. Watch them chase and pounce! 

Fetch

Fetch is not just for dogs! Fetch is a great way to tap into your cat’s natural instinct to catch prey and hunt. Using your cat’s favorite toy, toss it across the room. Chasing the toy gives your feline friend a chance to run and play!

Tablet Games

Just like people, cats can enjoy technology, too! There are many games for tablet devices that are specifically made for your cat. Games for Cats, Paint for Cats, and Jitterbug are just to name a few! All these tablet games can get your cat to engage and enjoy the digital world. 

There are endless amounts of different games and toys you can come up with to play with your indoor cat! Click here for even more DIY cat toys.


Keep your pets safe this Halloween!

Boo! Halloween night is upon us and that means we need to take extra precautions to keep our four-legged friends safe and sound on this spooky evening. Below are some tips and tricks to keep our pets safe from the ghouls and ghost lurking outside:

Tricks, No Treats

Halloween is notorious for candy, but that doesn’t mean it is for everyone. A lot of the Halloween treats contain very toxic ingredients to pets. Almost all forms of chocolate are highly dangerous, and even fatal, for dogs and cats. Another ingredient that can make pets very sick is xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free candies. If your pet has consumed any of these toxins, call your vet immediately. So be sure and keep the candy well away from your pets!

Keep Calm and Keep Pets Secure

With Halloween, comes trick-or-treaters. And with trick-or-treaters, comes a lot of doors opening and closing to give out candy and treats. This high activity night can cause stress and over-excitement for pets. To keep your pet safe, secure them or put them in a room away from the front door while witches and warlocks are out looking for their Halloween candy. We do not want pets darting out when the door opens and get needlessly lost. But just in case and to be safe,  make sure they have proper identification, such as I.D. tags or a microchip, with your contact information so your pet can make their way back home. 

To Costume, Or Not To Costume

Let’s face it, one of the best perks of Halloween is that we get to dress up. Unfortunately, not all of us like getting into the Halloween spirit. Some pets do not like wearing costumes and it can make them very stressed. We recommend that the only pets that get into costume are pets that enjoy wearing them. And if they do like costumes, be sure their outfits fit properly and don’t restrict any vision, hearing, movement, or their ability to breath freely. 

Don’t Knock Over the Jack-o-Lantern

Halloween is a very festive time of year. Spooky decorations and frightful carved pumpkins are almost on everyone’s front step. Remember, pets can knock over a lit jack-o-lantern pumpkin very easily and result in causing a fire. In addition, pumpkins and corn are not necessarily toxic to pets, however in large amounts they can cause digestive problems and blockages. And another good item to remember is to keep wires and electric cords out of reach pets to prevent unnecessary shock. 

Halloween can be fun and festive time for all if we take the extra measures to keep everyone safe, including our pets. 

Have a happy and safe Halloween!


Tips to finding a reliable pet sitter.

The holiday season is just around the corner, and that means hitting the road and traveling to go visit friends and family. Sometimes, sadly, it’s not possible to take along your ‘best friend.’ That’s why finding the perfect pet sitter is so important in getting the best care for your pets while you’re away. Knowing that your pets are safe and in great care with a trained and educated pet sitter will give you peace of mind while you are away.

But how do you know how to find the right trusted pet care provider? We’ve got some tips to help you make a more informed decision:

Where to look?

There are several reliable ways to help you find a great pet sitter. You can ask your veterinarian or your friends for references, and you can ask your trainer to help you make a more informed decision. Those who have found someone they really like and trust with their pets are most helpful in finding someone to care for your best friends.

What to ask?

The Humane Society of the United States has a great list of specifics to look for to screen po-tential pet sitters. A few of the most important ones are:

  • Can the pet sitter provide written proof that she has commercial liability insurance (to cover accidents and negligence) and is bonded (to protect against theft by a pet sitter or her employees)?
  • What training has the pet sitter completed?
  • Will the pet sitter record notes about your pet—such as his likes, dislikes, fears, habits, medical conditions, medications, and routines?
  • And many more questions you can ask to help you be more prepared.

Experience and Training:

Probably two of the most important qualities to look for in a pet sitter are experience and knowledge. You want someone that knows the proper and best way to care for your pets. Pet care providers that are trained, educated and experienced know how to handle any situation that may arise while you are away. Each pet is different and no situation is alike, from temperaments to pet first aid, it is important that you find someone who has the knowledge, experience, and training when it comes to watching your beloved pets.

Reliability, Trustworthiness & Reviews:

As an employer seeking someone to take care of your pets, you want someone that is reliable. They are going to be taking care of a member of your family, so being able to trust is very im-portant. Being able to feel confident that your pets will be safe and comfortable with the pet sitter is incredibly crucial. How do you find out if those you are evaluating are reliable and trustworthy? Check their references on social media, Yelp and Google +.

Now that you know what to look for in a qualified, experienced pet sitter, you can rest easy knowing that your best friends are safe and sound while you’re away!


How to keep your bird happy and entertained!

How to keep your bird happy and entertained!

Compared to life in the wild, caged life can be pretty boring for a bird. But it doesn’t have to be with a little help from you!

Birds love to be entertained. Here are our top tips that your birds will surely love:

Create a happy home

A good size home helps your bird have more room to roam and exercise, so make sure their cage is big enough for them to enjoy fully. Add some natural perches to mimic life in the great outdoors and add some bird toys for them to play with.

Be social!

Birds are very social creatures and need lots of attention and interaction for a happy life. Place their cage in an area of the house where you spend the most time and talk with them often. Also, take some time every day to play with your bird by letting them out of their enclosure and let them explore their surroundings more fully. Birds also love companions, so you may want to think about getting another bird.

Fun while you’re away

While you’re away at work or running errands leave on your television or radio to help keep them entertained. You can also hide some of their food under toys or under little boxes to provide a fun game for your bird while you’re gone.

With these simple tips your bird will be much happier and healthier for years to come.


What is your cat trying to tell you?

Sadly, cats don’t have the ability to tell us what they are thinking. That’s why this great site put together wonderful graphics to help you better understand your cat.

This list comes from Animalive, who spoke with experts on feline behavior.

1. Put their tail straight up in the air.

They show this sign when they feel good at a safe place or happy. Also, they raise their tail to show themselves off. They are masters of their territories. It is as if they are saying, “I’m nice, ain’t I?”


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2. Stand hairs on end

They do this sign when they stand are apprehensive or aggressive . They do this to intimidate an opponent or prey, or when they feel fear. They make themselves look bigger by standing their hairs on end. Their size is important to help avoid conflict. Sometimes the cause is fear, but most of the time, they do this for attacking.

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3. Make their tail into a mountain shape

They do this when they are in tension or before fighting. When there is an opportunity, they make pattern 2 and 3 in combination, which means fighting. The sign means “Do not come any closer.”


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4. Sandwich their tail between their legs

This is a sign when they feel helpless fear. Sometimes they do this pose as a sign of “submission” to an opponent, whom they cannot win against at all. In addition, they make this sign when they feel sad, or when they feel extreme anxiety when they go to a new place or an animal hospital. It is one step before a panic situation. So avoid giving them stimulus.

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5. Lower their tail

When they are disappointed because they got yelled at by their master, they are down, or they feel ill, they do this sign. You can tell their health condition with this sign.

To see nine more tail wagging behaviors visit the Animalive site. And for more of these inspired cartoons, visit artist Natsumi Inoue’s website.


Pet First Aid Awareness Month

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Did you know that April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month? This is a great time to  ‘bone up’ on some useful and helpful tips for those unexpected emergencies.

Here are our top 10 tips for keeping your pet safe, healthy and be prepared!

Important contacts:

Keep your veterinary emergency location and contact number handy! Add a note to your refrigerator and near your phone, and include the number and GPS location in your cell phone. This tip has been a lifesaver for our dogs!

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a wonderful service called the Animal Poison Control Center. This is a great service to use in an emergency. It is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.

First Aid Kit

Put together a small first aid kit for your pet and include items like:

  • Eye wash
  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting for only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
  • Gauze squares and rolls
  • Vet flex wrap bandage
  • Benadryl (For allergic reactions to bee stings, copperhead bites, allergies and more. Click here for dosage information and be sure to check with your favorite veterinarian.)
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
  • Scissors
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Tweezers

Learn the emergency situations!

Choking is the number one cause of accidental death. Watch and learn how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver for your pet and be prepared! Here’s a wonderful video to help you learn the basics:

Bloat is a serious situation for dogs and can be fatal very quickly within 20 minutes. The best thing is to recognize the signs of bloat and rush your dog to the nearly emergency room immediately.

A wide variety of emergencies can cause your dog’s heart to stop. In this case immediate care is a priority. Watch this video to learn the basic of pet CPR.

More resources:

To be more fully prepared, download the American Red Cross Pet First Aid app on your mobile phone and have all the info you need to be prepared for your pet in an emergency. Download via Apple App Store or Google Play or text “GETPET” to 90999.

Feel free to share this information with all of your friends and family! And to be safe while you have to be away from your pet, be sure that your pet sitter and dog walker are certified in pet first aid and CPR. You never know what can happen!


Five ways to keep your cat entertained!

If you have an indoor cat, it’s possible they may get bored on occasion. If that’s the case, there are some great ways to keep your cat active and entertained to help enrich their lives, and help them live a happier, healthier life.

Here are our top five ways to keep your cat entertained:

Toys!

Toys are a great way to entertain and keep your cat from getting bored. Various sizes and shapes of balls, stuffed mice, toys with bells, and other cat-centric toys keep your cat busy and happy. One of our cat’s favorite toys is a ping pong ball that he loves to bat around the house for hours.

Hide and Seek

Cats are curious creatures who enjoy having places to play hide and seek. Place some open cardboard boxes around the house and watch them jump inside. Paper bags (without handles) also make safe and inexpensive toys which most cats adore.

Catnip!

Try catnip and watch your cats have some fun! Place some around the house or on their favorite toy to encourage them to play. Catnip is perfectly safe for cats and it usually causes ‘frisky’ behavior as they roll around and rub against the catnip.

Cat trees are fun!

Cats love to see the world from high above so why not look into a cat tree. You can purchase a ready-made cat tree, or make your own. A cat tree can be short, or may stretch from floor to ceiling, providing great climbing opportunities and more play areas by taking advantage of vertical space. If you can, locate the cat tree next to a window so your cat can watch the action outdoors.

Ahhh….that sun spot!

Cats love to hang out in a sunny spot. Why not install a perch indoors near a sunny window? You can build or purchase window perches for kitties from various sources. Our cats love hanging out on their window perch, take a nap, watch for birds and other critters, and soak up the sun.

While our cats love a good nap, we hope these ideas help your cat be more active, entertained and happy!