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Airplane Travel With Your Pets

May 22, 2012   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  711 Comments

Prepare Well In Advance:
For small dogs that will travel in-cabin, buy an airline-approved airplane pet carrier. The best carriers for airplane travel are durably-sewn with lots of air vents, a zippered top and side exit door, a soft, removable bottom pad and several flat, internal and external pockets. The best carrier is discreet and light. Resist the temptation to buy a “designer” carrier: the flash draws undesirable attention to the valuable contents and comfort yields to style in most fashion models.

For larger dogs that will travel in cargo, buy a sturdy, airline-approved cargo crate with a good latch on the door. It should have detachable food and water receptacles. Both carriers should have an attachment for paperwork and name tags.

Use the airplane pet carrier to transport your dog to fun destinations prior to flight. Gradually increase the duration of the time in the carrier, taking longer journeys to the fun destination. Include a toy in the carrier, but avoid food since dogs generally should not eat on airplane rides. (Water may be advisable for dogs traveling in cargo on longer flights.)

Keep the bag open in the house and put enticing toys in it to make your dog happy to enter the bag. Never use this carrier as a day crate.

When Booking Flights:
Make sure to choose an airline that permits pets; clarify if your pet will travel in cabin or cargo. Cargo is restricted during some times of the year for some airlines. Most importantly, when booking, obtain a locator number for your dog that is associated with your seat number.

Starter Trips:
If an itinerant lifestyle is part of your plan for your dog, take a short flight of one hour to a nearby destination as a starter flight. Your dog will learn that the long wait ends in a happy walk outside the airport and will be better prepared for an upcoming long flight.

Food And Meds In Flight:
Feed at least 5 hours in advance of travel and avoid water for your dog within 1 hour of flight. (Water may be advisable for dogs traveling in cargo on long flights.) For dogs traveling in cabin, you may offer ice cubes or a sip of water toward the end of the flight as needed. Avoid giving a rawhide chew stick as it could get stuck in your dog’s throat and assistance would be difficult.

If your pet regularly takes meds, schedule the doses according to the travel schedule. Remember that you will have to show up at least an hour before the flight and from the point of entering the airport, your dog will be in the carrier.
Unless your vet says otherwise, tranquilizers are not advisable for high altitudes. Train, don’t drug, your pet into being a good traveler.

In The Airport:
Flying with dogs is less worrisome to airline personnel than security. For dogs traveling in cargo, the check-in counter will advise you where to deliver your dog for transport. For dogs flying in cabin, you will carry him through gate security and you must remove him from his carrier and personally carry him through the metal detectors, allowing his bag to go through the x-ray machine. NEVER allow your dog to pass through the x-ray machine when going to the gates. It is not permitted and is highly dangerous.

Documentation:
When traveling, make sure your dog’s rabies inoculations are up to date and keep a vet’s health record in your travel paperwork. You may not be asked to show it, but you should have it.

On The Plane:
Slide your carrier under the seat in front, check on your dog now and then but avoid exciting him to make him feel he will be let out. For dogs traveling in cargo, you will be advised where to pick him up when you check him in.

Stress of Air Travel: Flying can be stressful for pets just like humans.  Try to take your pets only when it’s necessary.  Best case scenario is to find a great pet sitter in your area and leave your pets at home while you travel.

Choosing a Responsible Loving Pet Sitter

May 15, 2012   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  717 Comments

1. Interview a number of possible sitters and companies.
If you are like me, you might hate the whole process of interviewing a possible anything. It’s so worth it in the end.  Soon enough through the process a certain company and pet sitter will start to shine.  That’s when you know it’s right!

2. Ask what training the pet sitter has received.
All sorts of pet lovers are good at taking care of pets, of course. Yet you probably want a pet sitter who has had more actual training than you have had. This may include a Veterinary Technician who is licensed to give shots, help with exams and assist in surgery would be quite a catch. In lieu of that, you’ll really want to make sure the sitter can spot health problems and react accordingly. Maybe, they even have a certificate in pet safety.

3. Ask about previous experience.
What did the sitter like and dislike about these experiences?

4. Ask what services the pet sitting company provides.
Depends on what you want. Do you want your pet to be groomed while you are gone? Do you think it’s important that he spend at lease an hour a day catching frisbees. Do you want a diary of your pet’s ever-changing moods? A pet sitter can do all these things. But you need to find out if your pet sitter will do them.

5. Speaking of contracts, does your pet sitter provide one?
A contract that lists services and fees is good for your peace of mind.

6. Can your pet sitting company provide references?
You really want a pet sitting company who can prove that their sitters have satisfied customers before they got to you.

7. Does your pet even like your pet sitter?
All the training in the world would not forestall a bad match here. You don’t want to set your pet up on a blind date.

8. Is your pet sitter’s company licensed, bonded and insured?
This would cover many dire contingencies.

9. How many other pets is your pet-sitter currently sitting for?
A full dance card, so to speak, means less special attention for your pet.

10. Is your pet sitter asking you as many questions as you are asking them?
If the pet sitter doesn’t seem especially curious about your pets, that’s a red flag!

Clean Water For All Pets

Jan 24, 2012   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  296 Comments

Do you ever ask yourself how much water your pet should be drinking a day? Probably not!  We generally fill their bowl up in the morning and go about the day. Your pet may not be getting enough hydration, especially if  the bowl is empty two hours later, but no ones home the rest of the day!  Here’s some factors to think about to make sure your pet is getting properly hydrated and ways to easily achieve it.

The size of your pet is important.   A 90 pound dog will need far more water during the day than a 20 pound one.  The food your pet is eating will affect the amount of water they need. Is the food wet or dry, what is the sodium content, are some ingredients going to make them more thirsty than others.  All good questions to ask yourself!

How about your pets age.  Younger dogs and cats need more water than senior dogs. More active breeds will drink more than lap dogs.   Climate plays an important role in how much a dog or cat needs hydrating.  The temperatures inside your home can also be an important factor.   Also, is your cat or dog on medications that make them loose more of their bodies water weight.

It’s so important for your pet to stay hydrated all day long. Like humans, they will easily dehydrate if left without water for too long.  Here’s some tips to remember.

If you’re crate training or leave your pet shut off from the rest of the house while at work or out for long periods, make sure to leave them with clean fresh water at all times.  Make sure the bowl is large enough to last throughout the day.  Or use an automatic water dispensing bowl.

Change the water bowl frequently and clean the bowls out daily.  Find out what material the pets bowl is made of to determine how clean it stays.  Our pets will stay healthier with clean fresh water in their bowls!

Remember when hiking with your dog to take along enough water for them to drink. A package of ice cubes work great to make sure the water is fresh throughout the day. You can even drop a few in their bowl during the day to keep the water full and clean.

Being a Responsible Pet Owner

Nov 20, 2011   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  270 Comments

I was going to write a Thanksgiving blog all about the pros and cons of feeding our pets table scraps but something happened on my morning walk that’s irritated me so much, I decided to voice my very opinionated opinion on what it means to be a responsible pet owner instead!

I’ve owned pets all my life and now run a successful pet sitting company. I consider myself a loving, caring, responsible pet owner.  I believe in keeping pets safe, feeding them healthy food, making sure they’re physically healthy, exercised, socialized and loved.  But, apparently nowadays, it means something entirely different.  When was this new rule book written because I must have missed the issue!  And, who wrote it? Since when, in this politically correct world we live in, do we have to follow someone else’s rules because they think it’s the politically correct thing to do in order to be a responsible pet owner.

What happened to the days where you could walk your dog without a leash, go to a school yard and have the dogs play with the kids, go to a park and have the dogs running and playing alongside the people, letting them swim in the ocean and sun themselves on the sand.  What happened to having your neighbor call and say your dog was visiting them at their house and they just gave them a sandwich. What happened to letting your dog pee and poo on a walk and not panic because you forgot a bag for cleanup and it might cost you a hefty fine.

I was at a park with my dog a few weeks ago playing catch with a ball  when a police car came blazing across the park and stopped in front of me and my dog.  The two officers proceeded to tell me I was breaking a law!  Yes, breaking a law playing fetch with my dog in a park!  They then proceeded to tell me they were going to write a ticket and if I resisted giving them my name and information, they would tasser me and my dog with their tasser guns!  Yes, this is all true, as unbelievable as it may sound.  This can’t be what it means to be a responsible pet owner, because quite honestly, it scares me to death if that’s what it means.

What I love about dogs, is they have no agenda’s and they live by their instincts. They don’t stop and think, can I, should I, could I, dare I, what if I….. But people nowadays seem to think they should.

I’m really tired of people going out of their way to stop their car or come out of their home to take the time to lecture and scream about your dog walking on their grass, peeing in their yard, pooping and making sure you have a bag to clean it up.   Really? Really??  When did we make everyone a dog deputy!!

And, those signs people buy and stick in their lawns, warning you about the code violation your dog is committing if he poops on their grass. Really? Really???  I walk around stressed and full of panic if I forgot a bag.  Are they going to call the cops, have me arrested?  It’s become so coo coo crazy.  And, we just seem to let it continue.

I miss the good old days. I really do. When dogs could be dogs. People were kind and everyone lived in harmony, not fear because you forgot your poop bags on the morning walk or you took your dog off  leash to fetch a ball.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Lets give thanks for the pets and focus on the joy that they can bring if you let them!!  And, give serious thought to how far we’re letting this politically correct world take over what we already know.  How to be a responsible pet owner!

Does your dog have the dreaded “dog breath?”

Oct 25, 2011   //   by admin   //   Pet care  //  701 Comments

You want to let your dog give you one of it’s slobbery loving kisses but, ohhhh no, it’s the breath of the beast heading towards you instead!

Signs of periodontal gum disease include the yellow and brown buildup of tarter around the gum line, inflammation and bad breath.  Your dogs and cats don’t have to be seniors for this to start happening. Infact, it can start as early as 3 years of age.

You’ve tried giving them bones to chew on, breath drops in their water, even tried brushing their teeth with pet toothbrushes! Ya, like your dog likes a big hard plastic toothbrush in it’s mouth! Not my dog. Ugh! Nothing is working, now what?

If your dog doesn’t like plastic pet toothbrushes and if “finger brushes” make them gag, you might have more luck using a simple, thin cotton glove. Place toothpaste on your gloved index finger and gently massage your pet’s teeth and gums. Most dogs find this sensation pleasurable and relaxing.

The glove is analogous to your finger, which your dog presumably trusts, and not hard, inflexible, or rubbery. Wash your hand in the glove and hang the glove to dry for next time. (So simple!)

Eighty percent of humans brush their teeth at least twice a day, but very few pet owners brush their pet’s teeth at all. Yes, guilty as charged! But, with this glove idea, it’s made it easy and a positive experience for both myself and my dog.

Now, I’m working up the courage to try it on my cat!  Meowrrrrrrr!!!!

Reducing Your Cat’s Carbon Pawprint

Sep 20, 2011   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  309 Comments

Yes, even our pets can go green with a little help from their owners! Here’s a few easy tips that will make a big impact on the planet.

Cat Food.  It can be more eco-friendly by favoring certain cat food flavors over others. According to John Robbins, author of The Food Revolution, it takes significantly more resources in terms of land and water to produce one pound of beef as compared to a pound of chicken. So, when you’re at the store staring at the shelf and trying to decide which of the 15 flavors to pick, consider the ones that are lower down in the food chain. Choose chicken over beef. Look for seafood that is sustainably harvested such as sardines or mackerel instead of tuna.  Go organic with your cat food. Certified organic foods are produced without synthetic pesticides or genetically modified ingredients and the organic farming process helps to preserve the integrity of the land and water.

Cat Litter. Forget those disposable plastic liners. You can keep your cat’s box fresh with daily scooping and washing it regularly with a mild soap and some water. When you do need to replace the litter box, look for one made from recycled plastic. Go with litter made from recycled paper products, corn or wheat.

Cat Toys. They can be eco friendly too. To reduce waste, choose quality over quantity and choose toys that you’re sure Kitty will enjoy. Cats are notoriously finicky, so if you buy something that you’re not sure your cat will like, chances are they wont. Get creative and look around the house for articles you already have. A pen top or bottle top can keep a cat intrigued for hours. Try hair rubber bands and cut up toilet paper rolls.  A roll of string or yarn or an old cardboard box and cover can become your cats next favorite toy.

Share the Green. Once your cat has settled into her new earth-friendly routine, share your green knowledge and experience with fellow cat lovers. Greening the entire planet can start with just one cat and owner, so take the first step today toward reducing your cat’s carbon pawprint today!

Trying To Sleep But Your Cat Wants To Play?

Sep 7, 2011   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  320 Comments

It’s 4am, your deep into REM sleep, when your 12 pound tabby jumps on your head and decides it’s time to play!  Or meows incessantly until your eyelids are forced open and your wide awake. Sound familiar?   This is a deciding moment for cat owners to seize the moment and do some training.

However, remember it’s 4am and most of us are not thinking clearly and just react instead! Ah, just what the cat was hoping would happen.  Whether it’s positive or negative reactions at that point, doesn’t faze the cat at all.  They have you up and paying attention to them. Mission accomplished!

Ok, cats are nocturnal by nature. I get it.  When we’re at work, they spend the day sleeping. When we get home, they’re ready to roll.  You feed them, play with them and then just when you turn out the lights for bed at night, they’ve hit their stride.  But wait, there is hope.  Here’s some ideas on how to get your cat to sleep at night.

Try increasing their activity during the day. Indoor cats, especially, need stimulation. Leave window blinds open and places for your cat to sit by a window to watch the outdoors.  Put a birdfeeder by a window.   Cats can entertain themselves for hours watching the action.  Think about adding another pet companion to the house.   Someone to play with during the day.  Keep some music or tv going while your out.  Cats will watch and listen.  It’s great stimulation.  Keep the house light and bright.  If it’s dark all day, cats will sleep.  And feed your cats closer to bedtime.  When their bellies are full they tend to sleep for longer periods of time.

Most important, at 4am when the cat is sailing across your bed, nibbling at your feet and pouncing on your face, ignore them. Don’t react and they might just learn to sleep through the night!

Another Happy Ending!

Aug 2, 2011   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  282 Comments

I am lucky to work with so many wonderful clients in my business and hear stories everyday about another pet being rescued to a loving home.

Rescuing a dog or cat from a shelter is a big commitment but one of the best ways to save more lives. Shelters are filled with abandoned, abused and neglected pets. Many of the shelters are not structured to be no-kill organizations. Adoption is the only way these beautiful creatures can be saved.

The picture below is another example of a happy ending for a rescued dog. The picture speaks volumes on giving a pet a second chance.

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