Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pet Talk – Advice for Pet Parents in Helping Fido Adjust to New Surroundings

Pet Talk – Advice for Pet Parents in Helping Fido Adjust to New Surroundings

Moving with Fido isn’t always a walk in the park.  In fact, only 34 percent of renters surveyed by said moving with their pets was a positive experience.  If you’re moving to a new pet-friendly apartment, here are some tips that can help make the process go smoothly for you and your four legged friends:

Seclude your pet from chaos.  Pets can feel vulnerable on moving day. Keep them in a safe, quiet, well-ventilated place, such as the bathroom, on moving day with a “Do Not Disturb! Pets Inside!” sign posted on the door.  A light, collapsible travel crate could also be a good safe haven on moving day.   Make sure your pet is familiar with the new crate before moving day by gradually introducing him or her to the crate before your trip.  Be sure the crate is well-ventilated and sturdy enough for stress-chewers; otherwise, a nervous pet could escape.

Play it safe in the car.  While driving, it’s best to travel with your dog in a crate or use a restraining harness as a second choice.  Secure the crate or carrier with a seat belt and provide your pet with familiar toys. Never keep Fido in the open bed of a truck or the storage area of a moving van.  In any season, a dog left alone in a parked vehicle is vulnerable to injury and theft.  If you’ll be using overnight lodging, plan ahead by searching for pet-friendly hotels. Have plenty of toys and pet waste removal bags on hand and keep him on his regular diet and eating schedule to help avoid any accidents.

Get ready for takeoff.  When traveling by air, check with the airline about any dog requirements or restrictions to be sure you’ve prepared your pet for a safe trip. Some airlines will allow pets in the cabin, depending on the animal’s size, but you’ll need to purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you.  Give yourself plenty of time to work out any arrangements necessary including consulting with your veterinarian and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  If traveling is stressful for your pet, consult your veterinarian about ways that might lessen the stress of travel.

Prep your new home ahead of time.  Have your pet’s favorite toys, blankets/bed ready to roll out as soon as you move in. Pets yearn for familiarity, as soon as they see their new sleeping spot, surrounded by familiar things and smells, they will instantly feel more settled.

Take time to explore your dog’s new territory.  When taking Fido outside for the first time, keep him leashed, allowing him the time to explore his new neighborhood.  Your dog should be introduced to the area around your home slowly.  It's a good idea to explore it one block at a time, just to see who else lives in your neighborhood.  Strange dogs can pose a threat and cause your pet unnecessary stress.

We wish you a safe and happy move! Share with us: what are your tips for helping Fido Adjust to a new home? Tweet them to us @fethcpetcare

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

8 Imperatives to Prepare for a Pet Sitter

Your vacation is scheduled and you prefer to have your pet stay at home while you are away. In choosing the perfect sitter you should of course interview them, check references and make sure the sitter is licensed, bonded and insured, and LOVES pets. But there are some additional steps you should also take to help ensure your pet will receive the best care possible:

Schedule - Most pet sitters book appointments far in advance. Make reservations as early as possible to guarantee a spot for your pet’s care. If your schedule changes, alert your pet sitter so additional care can be scheduled if necessary.

Pre-visit introduction - Make sure your pet has had an opportunity to meet the sitter before your vacation. Give your sitter your pet schedule, feeding and medication instructions.  If possible, have the sitter take your dog for a walk so that your pet and sitter get accustomed to each other, or bond for a few minutes with you cat or other pets.

Pet care information and supplies - Don’t make your sitter search for pet care items. Place everything your sitter will need in one specific place. This includes food & treats (including a can opener, utensil to mix/chop food and scoop for measuring dry fare), extra food and consumable supplies just in case, medications (with clearly written instructions), leash and collar/harness, paper towels and cleaning supplies, broom/dust pan or vacuum cleaner, plastic bags for waste disposal, litter and scooper, and potty pads if used. Clearly write out and review with your pet sitter any special instructions you want them to perform.

Thermostat - Your pet will be in your locked, sealed home. Make sure the thermostat is set at a comfortable temperature for your pet. Leave instructions on how to adjust the temperature range for your thermostat in case of a power-outage.

Pet proof your home - Pets can be more inquisitive and bored when they are left alone and get into mischief. Put toilet lids down, close cupboards and closets, store medications, perfumes, loose small objects and household cleansers away and out of your pet’s reach.

Alarms, off-limit areas, home access - Are there areas where your pet is not allowed? Make sure you close off the rooms and let the sitter know that those areas are to be kept off limits. Close and lock doors, including garage, and patio doors and windows before you leave. Use timers to control indoor lights so your pet’s day/night schedule is similar to when you are at home. Check to make sure gates and fences are closed and locked. 

Visitor list - If you live in an apartment or gated community, advise and authorize security that your pet sitter will be visiting and, if appropriate, let you neighbors know too. Also, if you plan to have friends, family or someone else also checking on your house and pets in your absence, let the sitter know.  Clearly explain what the pet sitter is responsible for and what the other visitors will be doing to avoid confusion. Also let the sitter know about gardeners, pool or house maintenance providers who might also be on the premises in your absence.

In case of emergency - Your pet sitter should have the information about where to take your pet in case of a health emergency. You should also notify your veterinarian in writing that a sitter will be watching your pet and authorize the veterinarian to provide medical care during your absence if necessary. If there is a natural disaster and your sitter needs to remove your pet from your premises, have a pet emergency kit available and a pet carrier too.  You should also communicate with your sitter how you would like to get updates about your pet, via text, email or phone.
Preparation is the key to make sure your pet sitter has all of the information they need to properly care for your pet while you are away. If they don’t have to search around for your pet supplies and instructions, they will have more time to spend giving love and attention to your pet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tips for the First 30 Days of Cat Adoption

Warmer weather brings kitten season, which is why The American Humane Association has designated June as Adopt-A-Cat-Month. Thousands of cats and kittens will be looking for a forever home not only for the month of June, but all year long. Start off on the right foot by being well-prepared for your furry new arrival by avoiding the rocky adjustment period and getting right down to the lovin'!

Make sure everyone in the house is prepared for a new cat. Visiting the shelter or animal control facility should be a family affair.  When adopting a new cat to join your existing pets, discuss with the adoption facility or your veterinarian how to make a proper introduction.

Spend time with a few kitties to determine which will be a good fit.  Ask to take the cat or kitten out of its cage and find an area at the shelter where you can spend some time with her.  Remember that animals in shelters can be nervous around new noises and smells so be prepared for the cat to take a little while to warm up to you.  Although, some cats are so friendly that they may begin bonding with you the moment they meet you!  Spending time petting and talking to the cat or kitten should give you insight into its personality to help you decide if it’s a good fit. 

Stock up on supplies before the cat arrives.  Try to create a “homelike” environment for your new cat right away.  You’ll need: a litter box, litter, food, treats and water bowls,  scratching posts, safe and stimulating toys, a cushy bed, a brush for grooming, a toothbrush, and nail clippers.

Kitten-proof Your Home. Kittens can get tangled or choked by anything swinging or hanging.  Keep your new pet safe by securely anchoring drape or blind cords out of reach. To prevent chewing on electric and phone cords, bundle them with a cord manager and fasten away from kittens' reach.  Rubber bands, jewelry, Christmas decorations, balloons and other small items are dangerous to kittens that may swallow them.  Remove poisonous plants and roach or ant traps and make sure the toilet lid is down.  Keep kitchen and bathroom cabinets closed so your kitten doesn't encounter bleach, detergent, dental floss and other household items when exploring.  In the laundry area, keep washer and dryer doors closed: A kitten may climb into a warm dryer for a nap.  Remember, if something would be harmful for a toddler, it's potentially harmful for your kitten.

Do see a vet ASAP.  
Kittens seem indestructible, but can get sick easily.  A vet’s early diagnosis improves the chances of a speedy recovery.  Screening tests, preventive care,  vaccinations, flea prevention and worm medications, save lives and ensure that your kitten grows to healthy adulthood.

Slowly Introduce Other Family Members.
  Everyone in the family will be anxious to get to know the new cat but she may not be ready to have several unfamiliar people crowded in her sanctuary room (a room you designate as her safe zone before letting her free into the rest of the house).  Do individual introductions slowly and see how she responds.  If she’s hiding and seems nervous, back off and let her gain confidence in her new surroundings.  There will be plenty of time later to make formal introductions.

Have you recently introduced a newly adopted cat or kitten into your home? Tell us about it @fetchpetcare

Friday, May 23, 2014

Tips for Keeping Your Pets Cool and Happy on a Hot Day

Tips for Keeping Your Pets Cool and Happy on a Hot Day

Spring is in full swing and summer is just around the corner.  While you enjoy these sunny days with your family (Fido + Whiskers included), try your hand at a few of these creative ideas that not only keep your pet cool, but also entertained.

The Doggie Ice Lick: Keep your canine friends cool this summer by making an ice lick that will peak your dog's interest by freezing chew toys inside a bucket filled with a mix of water and chicken broth. You can make the ice lick by simply adding a mixture of water and one can of chicken broth.  The mix will make it taste better and the salt will help keep Fido hydrated. The chew toys will give him or her another point of interest — especially if you add a carrot or two. 

The Kitty Snug Retreat: This is a place where your cat can retreat for relaxation and to feel safe.  It is easy to make! Simply place a cardboard box on its side and put it somewhere that is quiet and out of the way, such as in a closet, behind a chair, or near a cool spot in the house.  Line it with a terry towel or other cotton, breathable natural fabric that is not too warm.  Stick an ice pack inside a t-shirt and place it into the snug retreat underneath the towel for added cooling effect.  Another good idea is to place towels or sheets over the spots the cat usually likes to sit, to create a cool barrier between their fur and the normally warmer surfaces.  A hot water bottle can be filled with cool or cold water and left out for Whiskers to lie on.

Invest in a Kiddie Pool: I find so much joy in watching my two dogs make a splash in their kiddie pool.  Leave it filled with water so they can take a dip at their leisure.  You can find inexpensive kiddie pools at practically any big-box store, however, if you have a large breed dog, I would recommend a shallow Rubbermaid stock tank like this. Trust me, as I learned the hard way yesterday when my Shepherd puppy figured out how to tug the inexpensive kiddie pool into the house!

DIY Frozen Treats!  Your pup will love you a million times more once he gets his paws on this yummy snack!  This quick and easy recipe is also cat-friendly — you’ll need only 6 items: an ice cube tray, one can of tuna, some water, a mixing bowl, a blender, and a Ziploc bag.

         Start by mashing the tuna in a bowl.  Do not drain the water.  Add about ½ cup of water into the mix.  Blend you mixture, and place it in a Ziploc Bag. Cut a small hole in the bottom of the Ziploc Bag, and squeeze the mixture into the ice cube trays. Freeze and serve!

To make these treats even extra special – try a fabulous ice cube tray like this silicone paw print tray!

What are your warm weather tips? Let us know in the comments below or tweet them to us @fetchpetcare