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Why Does My Cat Scratch on Things?

Cat-ScratchThere’s nothing worse than coming home to the surprise redecorating of your kitchen table’s legs or living room upholstery, courtesy of your cat’s scratching instinct.  That doesn’t necessarily mean your cat has some inexplicable scratch problem that most other cat owners don’t experience as well.  There are many reasons why a cat will scratch anything sturdy enough to take a beating.  Let’s examine this further. [Read more…]

Ear Infections In Dogs

wiley.290140003_stdSYMPTOMS, TREATMENT, PREVENTION

The medical term for the inflammation or disease of the outer ear canal is ‘otitis externa’. It is one of the most common diseases of pets and it is estimated that up to 20% of the dog population is affected by this disease. [Read more…]

4 Ways Invisible Fencing Can Keep Your Pets Safe

Dog-Fence-150x150As pet owners and lovers, we do whatever it takes to keep our pets safe. Because they spend the majority of their lives at our homes, we make sure our living spaces are suitable for their safe enjoyment. If you have a yard that your dogs can use for exercise and play, you must ensure they’re kept inside your property lines to keep them from getting lost or wandering into the road. Invisible fencing is an excellent tool for containing your dogs in your yard, but did you know it can even be used inside the home and to keep other types of pets safe? Here are just some of the ways you can utilize a DIY electric fence to promote the safety and well-being of your pets. [Read more…]

Pets and Fireworks: 5 Ways to Ease Anxiety

Did you know that more pets go missing over the Fourth of July holiday than any other time of the year?

Pets and fireworks
Fireworks display

Lost pet services like Home Again report that more animals end up lost over the July 4 holiday than any other time of the year. Animals become terrified and if they can, may try to get away, ending up lost from its home. They often find the loud, unpredictable noise and bright displays of light truly frightening. Even a seemingly confident dog can tremble and drool at the unfamiliar sounds. Here are some safety tips when dealing with noise phobia, pets and fireworks:

  1.  First and foremost, DO NOT 1 Good Reason To Exercise Your Dog

5 Safety Tips For Pets in Winter

Here in Texas we know that we are never far from the sun. But this year, Old Man Winter seems determined to stick around a lot longer than usual. So here are some things to keep in mind for pets in winter.

  • Animals are just as vulnerable to the effects of Hypothermia as humans are. If you have an outdoor dog or a roaming cat, it would be better to keep them indoors or in the garage during these sub-zero nights.
  • Speaking of garages, be aware of these two things: anti-freeze and carbon monoxide. If you have a car that needs anti-freeze in the winter, you must know that there are elements of anti-freeze that are lethal for pets. Wipe up all spills, whether in the garage or out on the driveway, and keep pets away from the car when you are adding the anti-freeze. If you warm up your car in the morning before going to work, make sure you do that with the garage door open or with the car in the driveway. Before you drive off, make sure your pets are not lingering around the car to keep warm. Some cats even may get into the engine, so look there, too.
  • The salt solution used to prep the streets and the salt/sand mixture you may use around your front porch and driveway are not good for your pets either. Wash their paws when they come indoors if they have been exposed to salt.
  • Rat and mouse poisons are used more frequently in winter, so be certain that these are placed far from your pets.
  • You can get booties and sweaters to keep your pets warm outside while you look forward to the sunshine of Spring!
pets in winter

Traci Easter’s furkid Pink enjoying the snow.

For more information about pets in winter go to 5 Deadliest Outdoor Dangers for Pets this Winter

Next Article: 5 Ways to Ease Pet Arthritis in the Winter

Pet lover with pet allergies?

Fluffy

Furry Dog

You are certainly not alone. Many pet owners have allergies to pet dander just as they do to pollen and other allergens encountered on a daily basis. So should you have a pet if you are allergic to pet dander?  That depends, are your allergies so severe making you miserable anytime you’re in the same area as a pet? Even after taking antihistamines? If so, a furry companion is probably not for you. People with pet allergies are not generally allergic to pet hair per se, they have sensitive immune systems that react to pet dander, dead skin cells that shed.

The good news is there are many other species that make great pets. For instance, fish, frogs and small reptiles are good alternatives to furry pets. Beta fish and gold fish are very easy to take care of so perfect for kids. Hermit crabs make interesting pets and some people even have snails! Spiders and snakes are not uncommon pets but may not be for everyone.

There are also a few cat and dog breeds that are mostly hypoallergenic and great for those who have allergies. The article below lists some of the best pets for those with severe allergies:

10 0f the best pets for allergy sufferers

Each of these pets have very low levels of allergen but are not completely hypoallergenic. For people with severe allergies, researching each type of critter is highly recommended and most importantly, consult a medical professional before getting a pet that may cause an allergy attack.

Next blog: http://exceptionalpetsitting.com/adopt-pet/

The domestic dog: part of the family?

Canis Familiaris

Domestic Dog

When we take a look at the evolution of the domestic dog that we know and love today, we find that they are close cousins of the wolf. Wolves, however, are far from known and loved by man, to say our relationship with the wolf has been historically adversarial is putting it lightly. The reality is, we’re at war with Canis Lupus. A war over food and land but unfortunately, the wolf is losing. By the 1930’s man had eradicated the gray wolf from the Western United States. Not a nice way to treat your best friend of 15,000 to 30,000 years.

So how did these “enemies” become companions? How did we become tolerant enough to let canines into our lives? Did we domesticate dogs and turn them into family? Or did they guide the development of our close relationship? “As humans and wolves began to work and live together, physical features on the wolf began to change: Its skeletal frame grew smaller, and its jaw shortened. Wolves that socialized well with humans began to travel with them, and then were able to pass on their genes.”

The genetic adaptability of canines happens remarkably fast. The changes in the wolf’s physical features and social skills that were favored by man evolved rapidly. The resulting array of breeds is larger and more varied than any other species and dogs continue to change to suit our needs. “The oldest modern domestic dog breeds are no more than 500 years old, and most date only from ~150 years ago.”

Is changing to suit our needs good for the dog? I know it’s good for us, dogs are more than companions. They are protectors, guardians, loyal friends, assistants, confidants, exercise partners and so much more. Somehow I think we get the better end of that deal.

Next Blog: Pet Sitter Backup Plan

You paid HOW much for that luxury puppy purse?

As I google “luxury pet accessories” I’m thinking of $2000 designer puppy purses and expensive jewel encrusted collars. Ralph Lauren pops up as the second listing… *click* Ah yes, the $1950 puppy carrier, a couple overpriced leather collars and another carrier for $1800… No, wait… that’s $18,000! My jaw dropped.

Americans are spending more than ever on their pets in spite of a recession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we spent over 50 billion on our pets in 2011. That number is steadily rising and the American Pet Products Association estimates we will spend about $55.5 billion this year. Big numbers so let’s add a little perspective… that’s more than we spend on coffee and bottled water combined! Americans love coffee but we love our pets even more. There probably is a personal coffee maker for eighteen grand available somewhere but something tells me an $18,000 puppy purse is easier to find.

What is your “pet” guilty pleasure? Expensive food? Luxury dog bed? Designer cat collar? Whatever it is we do for our fur companions, it’s worth it!

luxury

Happy Dog

Next Topic: Spending On Pets

I love Halloween, don’t you?

Unfortunately many pets don’t! Someone knocks on the door every few minutes sending Spot into a flurry of barking to alert you, yet again, that you have visitors. You open the door to a group of little ghosts, goblins, witches and jack-o-lanterns who suddenly shout “TRICK OR TREAT!!” which sends Spot into another flurry of barking as these intruders surely should not be there! Meanwhile, Fluffy has been hiding since the first ghoulish creatures appeared, will not come out for dinner and you’re wondering if Fluffy’s brother, Tomcat, is with her or has slipped out the frequently opening front door.

Halloween can be a very confusing, and yes, scary time for our pets, especially those who are shy or not used to lots of activity. If your dog barks at strangers who come to the door or if your cat is skittish, it’s best to protect them from these stressful events right off the bat. Many pets escape from home on Halloween so the first precaution is to put them in a closed room, preferably one that is furthest away from the front door. Noise phobia can be soothed by having a radio on in the room with your fur kid making sure it’s loud enough to drown out the alien invaders that come for sweets. A favorite toy or blanket tops off the short term distraction created for maximum comfort on All Hallows Eve.

In addition to anxiety and stress, Halloween hazards for pets include food toxins from candy like chocolate and xylitol, opportunities to escape from home and susceptibility to cruel treatment by pranksters if outside. Plan ahead and Halloween can be both fun and safe for you and your fur family. Heck, your pet may even let you dress them up!

Next Topic: Pet Food Ingredients

Summer Time Pet Safety, How cool are you?

Flare from the sun

Sun Flare

Summer time means lots of outdoor fun and just like you, your pets need protection from the heat and sun. Pets can’t wear sunscreen of course and they don’t sweat through their skin like we do. Dogs regulate their body heat primarily by panting, as well as through the pads of their feet and their nose. If they are unable to expel heat quickly enough, they can suffer a heat stroke. Recognizing the following signs of heat stroke and can enable you to act quickly and help prevent an avoidable disaster:

  • Increased rectal temperature (over 104° requires action, over 106° is a dire emergency)
  • Vigorous panting
  • Dark red gums
  • Tacky or dry mucus membranes (specifically the gums)
  • Lying down and unwilling (or unable) to get up
  • Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
  • Thick saliva
  • Dizziness or disorientation

If the dog continues to overheat, breathing efforts become slowed or absent, and finally, seizures or coma can occur. ASPCA expertssay taking simple precautions will help prevent your pet from overheating. Make sure they have access to plenty of fresh water and shade while outside. Keep them indoors when it’s too hot and limit exercise in extreme summer temperatures. You should never leave any pet unattended in a car at any time. According to the Humane Society of the United States, on a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85 degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, contact the nearest animal shelter or police. You can also spread the word about the dangers of pets in hot cars by downloading fliers and posters at MyDogIsCool.com to distribute in your community.

Growing up in Texas I endured many a hot summer and have some of the best memories of time spent with my family and pets back then. Practice warm weather safety so you can have tons on fun in the sun with your pets too!

Happy Summer and stay cool!

Next Topic: Toxic Foods