What An Outstanding Little Tool! – Tip 21

Want to make your life a little easier?

I sure do!  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve used a carabiner (dog-bone shaped, of course!) to hold things to my dogs leash when I needed it!

What things?

  • My house key
  • Poop Bags
  • A small flashlight
  • My coffee  (ok, just kidding on that one)

Anyway – you get the picture.  A very useful and inexpensive item attached to your dogs leash will surely come in handy!

Money Saving Pet Tip (Interested??) – Tip 20

Want to save some $$?

Who would say, ‘oh no, thanks, but I’m good!”  Of course you want to save money!

Try this little tip:

Buy one of those plastic shampoo bottles from the dollar store and fill it 1/4 way up with your dogs regular shampoo and fill it the rest of the way with tap water.  This helps save you money by extending the amount of shampoo you use for each wash AND it will be easier to apply (no goopy thick mess) as well as rinse off!

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 19

If you could ask your pet a question – what would it be?

I read an article the other day asking pet owners what one questions they would ask their pet if they knew they would get an answer.  What would you ask?  I would ask “Are you in any pain?”

Pets hide their pain

Because they are brave souls and don’t complain like certain people, we can’t ask our pets how they’re feeling.  Most importantly, pet parents need to observe and pay attention – we must watch out for changes in the way our cats or dogs are acting.  Behavior changes may be a sign that your pet is in pain.

Signs of pain may include:

  • a lack of activity
  • decreased appetite
  • weight loss
  • lack of grooming
  • holding a different ‘stance’
  • shaking
  • panting
  • moaning / crying

Keep in mind your animal may NOT be in pain and experience the above symptoms … either way, they are ALL an indication of something out of the norm and a possible reason to have your pet evaluated by your veterinarian.

One more question…

Ok, so if I asked my dog if she is in any pain and she said ‘no’.  The next question I’d ask?

“Do you like it when I hug you?”

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 18

Has the W-ITCH been visiting your dog?

It’s winter – and when your dog comes into your warm dry home after being out in the cold several times a day,  it can cause some itchy and dry skin. This is common during the winter – you can call it the ‘w-itch’ (aka: winter itch)!

What can you do?

Our furnaces are pumping out warmth and in the process our air is getting dryer.  Dry air can make your dogs itchy skin even worse.  Keeping a humidifier going in your home during the winter can help put a little moisture back into the house.

Try some ‘inside lotion’ too!

Since you can’t rub lotion into your dogs itchy skin, you could try healing the dry skin from the inside out!   Put a little salmon oil in his food – you may see a tremendous improvement!

 

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 17

How often do you touch your pet?

I know it might be an unusual question – one that might get a response of, “Everyday, of course!”, and I would answer the same.  But I mean touch your pet with intention.

Sometimes you have to develop trust before your pet will let you poke around.

This morning, while I was petting Shea (my dog) I started to give her a little massage.  She was so relaxed – absolutely loving it. Once she was so relaxed and happy with our bonding time, I was able to take her paws in my hand and explore between her pads.  Normally, she would jerk her paw out of my hand – unless I had taken the time and she was in this relaxed and trusting state of mind.

What will you notice?

As I was gently checking in between her pads, I found a little sticker she must have picked up while we were on our walk earlier.  I removed it – but the thought stayed with me that maybe I should intentionally check her body on a semi-regular basis.  I do this with my pet sitting clients dogs and cats all the time – so why would I ‘forget’ with my own baby?  I’ve been able to bring lumps and bumps and even a case of worms or two to our owners attention that they had missed just like me.

Pay attention to your dog or cat.

I think the main issue here is that we pet owners tend to be human when it comes to our own dogs and cats.  We get into our routines and we really do forget to see with new eyes and feel with new hands.  We get foggy to what we do repeatedly.  Let’s not do this with our own pets.  Pay attention.  Take some time to FEEL your pet while you’re stroking and petting his or her body.  Feel the places you don’t normally touch.  Be aware of your pet.

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 16

Yes, I’m broken.

I was up early this morning – 4:10 am to be exact (yes, I’m broken).  As I was down on the floor stretching (a common thing I do in the morning) my dog came over and started to do her ‘doggie’ type stretching too!

My dog, the yoga instructor!

Of course!  For some reason this morning it occurred to me that I have never stretched like she does … so I did the obvious (since no one was awake to watch and make fun of me).  I let her be my ‘yoga’ instructor!  When she would get on her back and squeeze her head to her hips and wiggle back and forth, I would follow and do the same.

Feel things like your dog does … turns out, they’re on to something!

Aside from seeing (and feeling) things from her perspective, having a little fun, and bonding – THIS FELT PRETTY GREAT!  My dog really knows how to stretch (and she’s a pretty good teacher too!)

A little weird – but highly recommended.

So, todays tip is a little weird, but I do recommend  you try it when no one is looking (or what the heck – if you’re bold, go ahead and do it while people are looking… just like your dog would!) Let your dog teach you their way of yoga!

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 15

Going for a ride?

Keep treats in your glove box!  The reason is twofold:

  1. If your dog needs re-direction, you’ve got the treats handy!
  2. If you happen upon a stray and you like to help – you’ve got treats handy!  Here’s another tip:

Make sure the treats are low-moisture.  There’s nothing like coming into a car where something has gone bad and if you use the dry treats they won’t go bad.

 

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 14

It’s “National Dress Up Your Pet Day”!

We all know what that means, right?  My girl (Shea) is a german shepherd mix and I can just see her rolling her eyes at the thought of my dressing her up.

What about you?

Have you ever dressed your pet up?  Can you share a picture??

Oh, it’s also “National Seeing Eye Dog” Day

– so, maybe I’ll dress Shea up as a seeing eye dog?!

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 13

Are you neglecting your cat without knowing it?

Cats are such ‘easy’ low-maintenance critters that sometimes it’s easy to get into the routine of just scooping the litter, changing the water and giving fresh food and going about the rest of our day.  It’s okay, people get busy – what can we do?

Try some playtime!

Playtime with you cat will make his (and your) life better in so many ways:

  • exercise for your cat
  • bonding between the two of you
  • lowered blood pressure (for both of you)
  • fun (for both of you)

How important is interaction with your cat?

In a recent study, it was found that domestic animals chose interaction with their human over food!  Wow – if they could talk, they’d probably remind us!  Click here to read more.

You don’t need any more reasons, do you?  Go spend some time with your kitty….

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 12

Does your dog have an icky tummy?

Signs of an upset stomach in dogs can include:

  • diarrhea
  • gurgling noises
  • excessive gas
  • less-than-normal activity
  • a ‘hunched up’ stance (sometimes with the tail tucked)
  • groaning or sighing

What can you do?

Many things can cause your pet to have an gross-feeling stomach.   But, thankfully, here are some things you can try at home.  A huge help might be to feed a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice for a short time and see if that alleviates the symptoms.

Be watchful, however!

If your dog hasn’t improved (or has gotten worse) within 12-48 hours, it’s time to see your vet.  Use your good judgement here – pay attention (it’s the most important thing you can do.)

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 11

Try a little warmth for arthritic joints.

Older dogs (and cats too) can suffer with joint pain as they age.  Pets tend to hide their pain so it’s up to you to be aware.

common signs of pain in pets:

  • slowed or less frequent movement
  • avoiding the stairs
  • panting
  • whining for ‘no reason’
  • trouble getting up and down
  • not jumping up on things they used to

Sometimes all it takes is a little warmth to help.

You can try warm blankets or towels. Try warming them in the dryer.  Never use a heating pad – this can cause burns. You might even try gentle massage to the hips and joints to get the blood to these areas.

A word of caution:

Be gentle ~ if these areas are hurting, you don’t know how much pressure is ‘too much’.  If your cat moves away from the touch or your dog doesn’t seem to like it: STOP!

There are pain medications specifically for dogs and cats who are suffering from arthritis – ask your veterinarian.

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 10

Did you flush your toilet this morning?

How often do you scoop your cat’s litter box?

(Not judging here, just trying to get you to think from your kitty’s perspective)  Cats are very clean animals and appreciate a clean place to use the bathroom (just like us!).

How often should you scoop?

Scoop your cat’s box daily.  If that’s not a possibility for you, then add another litter box to the mix and scoop every other day.

Why should you scoop so often?

Ever hear of the term ‘litter box avoidance’? There are, of course, many reasons for litter box avoidance (and some of them will merit medical attention), but this one is surely in the top ten reasons why your cat may stop using his litter box.

If your cat needs to go potty and happens to find his or her litter box like a nasty un-flushed toilet in a row of public stalls (trying to paint a graphic for you here)… he’ll do exactly what you and I would do: find another place to go.

Be Warned!

Many cats will start to urinate and defecate on your clean carpet and then continue to find what they think are ‘appropriate’ places to do their business.

So, if a nasty litter box is the reason your fastidious feline is looking for another toilet try the  easy fix:  Scoop Daily!

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 8

Snip. Snip. Snip. Oops.

NEVER use scissors to clip things out of your pets fur!

We pet owner know very well how weird stuff can get caught in our pets fur – We also tend to think that we would do fine by our pets to remove it with scissors.

Think again!

When I worked at a veterinary hospital (ancient history) I was amazed at how many dogs and cats had to come in for stitches because the pet-mom or pet-dad thought they were doing the right thing and used scissors to remove something from their pets fur.

What things?

  • matted hair
  • stickers
  • gum
  • ice-balls between the pads (to name just a few)

One jerky movement later and *poof*

Road trip to the vets office!  Be safe (and smart) – find another way … avoid the scissors.

There ARE alternatives to scissors.

There are other ways to deal with the above mentioned  – for example, stickers and matted hair can be gotten out with patience and a good dog-comb.  I’d recommend a Furminator type comb for stickers and a steel comb with wider teeth for mats.  If the mats are too bad, set an appointment with your local groomer.  Ice-balls in the pads should be melted with a tepid (NOT HOT) water bath.  Gum?  Ice cubes if it’s on the surface and peanut butter if it’s closer to the skin.

Safe ~ Not Sorry.

When something is stuck in your pets fur, please don’t grab for the scissors – leave that for the professional groomers.

 

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 7

Ok, after all of that cuddling, it’s time for some tough love.

How long has it been since you took your dog or cat in to see that vet just for a check up?  Too many of us wait for some reason (symptom) to show up before we take them in and this could spell disaster.

We both know it’s in the best interest of our pets.

This is easy:

  • Pick up your phone
  • dial your vets office
  • make the appointment
  • keep the appointment

Done!  You are an awesome pet owner!!

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 4

Warning: You are about to be grossed out a little.

How long has it been since you last scrubbed down your pets water dish?

Many pet owners simply refill the water dish over and over and don’t wash it in between fillings.

Why is that a big deal?

Enter Biofilm (insert scary-sounding music here).  That’s the name of the gross slippery invisible ‘stuff’ that adheres to the surface of your pets bowl.  It’s important that you also know it’s been linked to such unwanted physical ills such as middle-ear infections, urinary tract and bladder infections in our pets –

Easy fix though:

Get scrubbing!

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 3

Sometimes, a break up is a wonderful thing.

We recommend using a breakaway collar for your cat.  They can prevent serious injuries (even heartache) if your kitty ever accidentally gets snagged on something.

Where do you find them?

They sell them all over – try on Amazon.com or in your local pet store.  I’m kinda fond of these: (you can click the image to see more styles)

How To Be An Awesome Pet Owner – Tip 2

In honor of “National Pet Travel Safety Day” – yes, that is a thing… we are going to give you 5 travel tips for you when you’re traveling with your pets:

  1. When traveling by car ALWAYS (and we mean always) use a seat restraint for your dog and a carrier for your cat.  Period.  No exceptions.
  2. Make sure your pets have proper identification on them at all times.
  3. If you plan on flying your pet, see if they can travel with you (for an extra fee) in the cabin area.
  4. Never ever (and we mean never) carry your dog in the bed of an open pick-up truck.  Tethered or not – this can be deadly.  Or the trunk of your car.  (Yes, I’ve seen people do that.)
  5.  Never ever (and again, we mean NEVER) leave your pet unattended in a parked car.  Since we’re on that subject,  a moving car would be pretty bad too…

Oh, and today is also “Happy Mew Year For Cats Day” too, so here’s a picture of a sweet kitty!