Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Back To School Blues, It is an adjustment for everyone

Our dog Jasper is a happy dog. He loves being around people and is perfectly content hanging out as we putter through our daily routine.  Our cat Synthia is a little less obvious about her need to be with the family, as she is always around but likes to keep to herself.  Synthia will perch atop her kitty house and just watch while Jasper needs to be at our feet, especially when we are in the kitchen.

Since I’ve started a part-time job and the kids are off at school, both Jasper and Synthia are not themselves.  Jasper paces the house, whining, and Synthia goes off in one of her hiding places in the house.  And I’m worried about both of them.

According to experts changes in your routine are exactly what can cause our beloved pets to be distressed. While my time is now shrinking because of my obligations, their need for routine is just as important as it ever was. 

John C. Williams, animal behaviorist, says that pets like predictability and routine. By taking away that emotional security, behaviors such as depression, vocalization, lethargy or hyperactivity, potty accidents, or even separation anxiety can begin.

Experts agree that the most important thing is to establish a routine that is as close as their past routine as possible.  Since I am not able to be there myself during the day, I am exploring alternatives to provide my pets with more companionship and to make up for the exercise that the pets are missing with the kids gone all day.  I really like the idea that someone will be there for them and they don’t have to adjust as many changes.

Additional ideas I’ve found include the ASPCA recommendation of giving your pet a treat when you leave the house so they associate you leaving with the pleasant activity of a fun treat. Another ideas is taking a piece of worn clothing and leaving it in the pets’ space so they can smell you through the day.  Keeping your pet busy will also help them pass the time, Kongs are a favorite toy recommendation because they provide both the stimulation of chewing and a treat. 
Next time we have a major life change I will plan further ahead now that I know what an impact it can have on our furry family members and ease them into their new routine.  In the meantime, I’ll make sure I have walkers and sitters checking on them daily and leave them with yummy treats and toys to help ease their stress.

How do you prepare for changes in your family routines for your pets?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Product Review: Prefer Pets Travel Carrier

My dog often travels with me in the car, whether we’re headed to the dog park or going for a Sunday drive.  For safety reasons I like to keep her in a travel carrier so she doesn’t distract me from driving.  We have gone through several travel carriers over the years and have recently tried out the Prefer Pets Travel Carrier.

This travel carrier fits pets up to 20 pounds and is surprisingly well made considering the lower price point; it certainly has a sturdy feel.  The carrier, while well structured, is softer than some other carriers, making it easier to fit under the seats on an airplane.  With breathable mesh on the top, front and back of the carrier your pet can get the air and visibility he needs for a comfortable trip. 
One of my favorite features are the “privacy flaps” that allow you to cover the mesh portion, giving nervous pets the ability to keep to themselves and also go incognito in non-pet friendly places.  This has really helped sooth my pet’s stress level when we’re in big crowds or noisy places.

With one pocket on the front for treats and poop bags, the carrier could use one more pocket so you could easily fit toys and a leash.  Does your pet like to go for drives or travel with you?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Celebrating Assistance Dogs in August!

Dogs are our companions, children, friends, and hearts.  To some people, dogs are also their eyes, hands, and legs.  Dogs can enable disabled people to access the world like everyone else.  At Fetch! Pet Care we wanted to take some time out to share two of our favorite stories of how Assistance Dogs have changed and saved people’s lives.

Alida was 2 years old in 2012; a little toddler with a rare lung disease.  She required oxygen tanks to be with her at all times.  Her parents wanted their little girl to have the independence that other children enjoy.  That’s when Alida’s parents read about Assistance Dogs helping people, just like Alida, to live “normal” lives.  They began their search for the perfect dog, named Mr. Gibbs, and a trainer that helped them train Mr. Gibbs how to carry Alida’s  oxygen tank.  Mr. Gibbs follows Alida everywhere; when the toddler climbs up the slide Mr. Gibbs goes up with her and then comes down with her too!  Alida’s father says, “He follows our instructions well, but getting him to listen to a 2-year-old is harder.  But he is getting used to her”.  You can see Mr. Gibbs in action on YouTube with Alida and on the television show, The Doctors.

Another hero story told by First Coast News, is of Sweetie, a service dog for the last 13 years to Jerry Williams.  Jerry was disabled in a stock car accident 30 years ago.  In March, Jerry found himself lying on a bed that caught fire.  He quashed the fire and then when it re-ignited, he started to crawl out of the house.  However, the smoke was too thick and Jerry found himself lost inside his house.  Then he heard the jingle of his dog’s collar, and followed that sound out of the house and with the help of a neighbor, to safety.  Sweetie is all he has left and right now, all he needs.

In August we  celebrate the dogs that provide extraordinary service.  These devoted and hardworking assistance dogs spend their lives helping their beloved owners.  In August Assistance Dogs International has identified their goals to recognize and honor assistance dogs; raise awareness and educate the public about assistance dogs; honor puppy raisers and trainers; and recognize heroic deeds performed by assistant dogs in our communities.  To find out more about service dogs and their contributions, check out Pet Life Radio.

Do you have a service animal?  Send us a picture to social@fetchpetcare.com and we’ll share it on our Facebook Page!