Monday, July 28, 2014

Surprising Home Remedies for Your Doggie Family Members

I love my dogs; they are a huge part of my life and a big part of my paycheck!  Caring for your pet can be expensive and, with growing concerns over toxins and pollutants, I often find myself turning to home remedies.  Recently, I reached out to a panel of pet experts to see what their favorite home remedies were and they had some great ideas!  Here are some of our favorite remedies — and we recommend you DO try this at home!

Pati Lara of
Pati’s Pet Corner blog; Wendy Diamond, editor at Animal Fair Magazine (and animal advocate); Sarah Wilson, the dog expert author of “Dogology”; Dr. Anna Coffin of “Ask Dr. Anna”; and Karen Schaver, Director of Lake County Animal Services all generously consented to share their favorites tips and tricks for 8 inexpensive items found in your pantry, refrigerator, and garden that can be used for some common ailments:

Epsom Salt, the stuff you put in your bathtub for your aches and pains is also of great value to your dogs.  Dr. Anna Coffin recommends to her patients that they use it for wound care, especially broken nails and swollen feet.  She recommends a soak twice daily for about 5 minutes each time to reduce swelling and increase healing.

Wendy Diamond uses 3 cups of Epsom Salt dissolved in two inches of warm water for her dog’s itchy paws.  She has her dog stand in it for 5-10 minutes and then pats the paws dry.

Karen Schaver uses Epsom Salt and warm water to make compresses to apply to minor wounds that cannot be soaked.  It helps heal the wound and draw out the infection.

Oatmeal. That breakfast food that helps keep your cholesterol down also has medicinal use.   Who knew? Pati Lara uses baby shampoo with oatmeal (like Aveeno) to help clear the flaky skin on her Chihuahua.  She bathes her little one once a week until the skin clears and then she uses it once every two weeks. Dr. Anna Coffin prescribes warm baths with finely ground oatmeal for immediate relief from itchy skin caused by allergies, skin infections, and other skin diseases.

Yogurt.  This yummy people food helps our four legged kids, too.  Wendy Diamond feeds her furry kids plain yogurt as a treat.  They think they are loved (yes, they are) and they are also getting help to keep their intestinal tract balanced with good bacteria.  She has found that it helps to also keep yeast infections at bay.

Baked sweet potatoes, and canned pumpkin are all good for digestive and stomach issues.  (Remember the ones shoved in the back of your pantry waiting for the Fall baking?) Karen Schaver uses canned pumpkin to supplement the food of her overweight dogs.  She mixes their daily food with pumpkin to help the dog feel full with fewer calories in order to help lose those extra and unhealthy pounds.

Sarah Wilson mixes plain baked sweet potatoes with her dogs’ food when they have an upset tummy, often a product of stress or a sudden food changes.  She substitutes 25% to 33% of the food with the sweet potatoes for a couple of days, or until the tummy issues subside.

Diatomaceous earth, salt, and borax kill FLEAS and are all non-toxic!  Dr. Anna Coffin recommends using at least one of these products as a part of your flea eradication program, focusing especially on the areas where your pet sleeps.  These products cause the flea larvae and eggs to dehydrate and die.  She does warn that this is not a substitute for treating adult fleas on your pets.

Hydrogen peroxide is not recommended for wound care anymore because it can cause tissue damage and infection, but you will be surprised by this tip: Karen Schaver finds that when rescue dogs eat something they aren’t supposed to (like chocolate, or a small critter from the yard) that she can quickly and effectively induce vomiting with 1 cc of hydrogen peroxide given by syringe to the back of their throat.  She cautions you to make sure that you are not inducing the dog to vomit up a corrosive or something similar that will cause more damage coming back up. I told you you would be surprised by this one!

Baby oil. It’s not just for babies and removing eye makeup. Pati Lara likes to take a cotton ball soaked in baby oil and use it to clean the crusty build up and gooky gunk from around her dog’s eyes.  She recommends that you hold the cotton ball over the eye for about 30 seconds and then gently wipe the eye off. She also finds this method helpful for cleaning the outside of the ears and moisturizing her dog’s paws after a bath.

Raw beef soup bones.  Ok, you can make soup from bones, but it just isn’t as much fun as using them in this way: Once per week, Karen Schaver gives her dogs raw soup bones as a special treat.  In the summer she tosses them in the freezer for a doggie popsicle!  Her rescue dogs have a ball chewing the bones bare while the sinew flosses their teeth and chewing on the bone cleans their teeth.
Keep in mind Dr. Anna Coffin’s best piece of advice too: “Consult your veterinarian before treating your pet for any condition” because even the best advice cannot replace the care and knowledge of my own veterinarian.

What’s your favorite home remedy? Tweet is to us @fetchpetcare, or leave us a message in the comments below…

(Resources: Dr. Anna Coffin at; Pati Lara at; Wendy Diamond at; Sarah Wilson at; and Karen Schaver at


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.