hunter, Author at Hot Diggity! Dog Walking + Pet Sitting

As many non-essential businesses are being temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you may have found your pups groomer to be among them! While we don’t recommend going all out and giving your pup a whole new hairdo – we’ve got some basic at home grooming tips to keep your pup looking fresh until you can visit the doggy salon again. If you’ve got a short haired breed, or one that doesn’t need regular haircuts, these basics will keep your pup looking and feeling their best year round, too!

The most important thing to remember is that you want your dog to enjoy (or at least not hate) the grooming process. Some pups might not mind at all, while others may find the whole soapy situation incredibly stressful. This may mean breaking up the grooming process into small steps, only a couple minutes a day, instead of making a whole day out of the process. Of course, be sure to give your dog plenty of treats along the way!

 

Nails

Tools of the trade:


As a general rule, you should plan on trimming your dog’s nails once a month. Some dogs will need more or less frequent nail trimming depending on a couple different factors. For example, larger and more active dogs that spend a lot of time outside on pavement will wear down their nails naturally and will need to be trimmed less often than a smaller pup that spends most of his day napping on a comfy bed.

The most important thing to remember when cutting a dog’s nails is that pups have a vein in their nails called a quick that will bleed (and hurt!) if you cut it too short. In dogs that don’t get their nails cut frequently enough, the vein can grow very long, so you can only take a little bit off at a time. If that’s the case, you should trim a little bit off your dog’s nails every week to encourage the vein to shrink back into the nail.

If you use dog nail clippers, the easiest way to cut your dog’s nails is to position your dog in a way where you can flip their paw back and look at the underside. Once you’ve got your dog comfortably situated, begin to trim. In dogs with white nails, the quick is visible, and thus, it’s easier to trim the nail to avoid coming near the quick. If your pup has black nails, however, only cut off a little bit at a time. You will see a tiny black dot surrounded by white when you get close to the quick. That’s how you know to stop.

Nail grinders are a great way to get your dog’s nails short and smooth with less risk of cutting the quick. Nail grinders can be loud however, so you may need to introduce it to your dog slowly. Use the same process to take off a little bit at a time until you see the dot in the middle of the nail showing that you’ve gone short enough.

It’s a good idea to keep styptic powder handy to stop bleeding if you trim a nail too short!

 

Brushing

Tools of the trade:
 

Most dogs benefit from being brushed a couple times a week. Even if you have a pup whose breed requires less frequent brushing, all pups can benefit from a regular brushing routine: it helps dogs to remain calm during grooming appointments, keeps their skin healthy and prevents a buildup of dander, and it’s an excellent way to bond with your best buddy! But which of the many grooming tools do you actually need for regular coat maintenance?

SMOOTH AND SHORT COATS: 

For our “bully” breeds and hounds, a bristle brush works well. A gentle rub-down with a rubber brush or grooming mitt to loosen dead hair and dirt should be sufficient, but if your dog has a long enough coat to get some small knots, a pinhead brush will sort them out.

LONG COATS:

Old English Sheepdogs and other shaggy breeds are prone to tangles and matting. Use a slicker brush or wide-toothed comb to gently work through any mats – don’t cut them out. An undercoat rake is needed to get through all the layers of hair and reach the roots after the tangles have been removed. 

DOUBLE COATS:

Most retrievers and shepherds have a double coat – meaning they have a soft, seasonal undercoat that sheds twice a year, and a coarser outer coat that sheds only once a year. Double-coated dogs can have both long and short coats. For either coat length, start with a slicker brush to remove loose hair from the outer coat and any debris trapped in the coat. Then, use an undercoat rake, which is a specialized tool to get through the double coat and gently remove any dead hair or tangles from the inner coat.

SILKY COATS:

Yorkies and other soft lap dogs typically have long and fine hair, with no undercoat. Use a comb to remove tangles, and a bristle brush to keep it nice and shiny.

WIRE COATS:

Many terriers have wiry coats that are rough and do not shed. Use a curved-wire slicker brush and a stripping comb to thin out an overgrown coat and brush away mats.

CURLY COATS:

Doodles and Poodles and Schnoodles, oh my! These coats are soft, thick, and puffy. They may shed less than other breeds, but they can be hard to maintain. To remove tangles from curly coats, use a metal comb or dematting tool and work slowly, exercising patience.

 

Teeth

Tools of the trade:

80% of dogs have periodontal disease or other dental problems by the time they’re 3 years old – that’s a staggering percentage! Gum disease is no small matter either: it can lead to lost teeth, abscesses, a broken jaw, heart disease, or even death. That’s right – the bacteria from your dog’s bad teeth can get into their bloodstream and cause a myriad of problems. 

You should aim to brush your dog’s teeth every day, but a couple times a week at a minimum will suffice. If you’ve never brushed your dog’s teeth before, you need to start slowly. Always use a dog specific toothpaste – not your own! They come in an array of pup-friendly flavors too! Let them sniff and lick the dog toothpaste first, then put the toothpaste on your finger and rub it on the outside of your dog’s teeth. Work your way up to a finger toothbrush and then a dog toothbrush.

If your dog refuses to let you brush their teeth, you may also use dental sprays, water additives, and tooth wipes that are still a better choice than no dental care at all! 

 

Bath Time!

Tools of the trade:

Some people never wash their pups, while others bathe their pups every weekend. You should aim somewhere in the middle. Most dogs should be bathed every 1-3 months, but no more than once a month. If you absolutely must bathe your pup more frequently, be sure to use a very gentle shampoo made specifically for dogs – such as a hypoallergenic or oatmeal shampoo. As overwashing can dry out your dog’s skin and coat, following shampoo with a dog-specific conditioner can help to retain necessary coat moisture. Never use human shampoos to wash your pups, as humans’ skin pH is different than dogs, and even gentle baby shampoos are too harsh for your pup’s skin. 

Pro-tip: Be sure you’ve gathered all necessary supplies before you start the bath – there is nothing worse than chasing a slippery dog around the house who got loose while you went to grab a towel! 

Bathing Instructions:

Prepare the tub with a bath mat or towel to give your pup some traction; dogs don’t like the feel of slippery sink or bathtub surfaces underneath their feet. 

Make sure to use lukewarm water – the temperature you would use for a baby’s bath is perfect! If you have a flexible sprayer attachment, this is WAY easier and time effective than trying to rinse a dog with a cup, but you can make do either way.

First things first: Get your dog wet! Start at their back end and work your way forward toward their head. Then it’s time to soap them up. Be careful NOT to get shampoo in your pups’ eyes – nobody likes that! Using a rubber scrubby brush (as shown in the “brushes” section above) can help you get the shampoo thoroughly through their coat and loosen up dead skin/fur as well! 

Once they’re all sudsy, rinse thoroughly to remove all shampoo! When you think you have all the shampoo out, rinse an additional time (and then once more, for good measure)! It’s easy to accidentally leave a little shampoo in your dog’s thick coat.

Use a towel (or two, or three) before your pup escapes the tub to get them mostly dry then it’s up to you whether you want to use a blow dryer or not. If you do use a hair dryer, make sure to use a cool setting. Dogs can overheat very easily. Otherwise, enjoy watching your dog bolt around the house overjoyed to be out of the tub!

 

Ears

Tools of the trade:

Your dog’s ears should be cleaned at least once a month. You can use an ear cleaner specifically made for dogs or witch hazel on a cotton ball. It’s normal to see a little bit of dirt on the cotton ball after swiping the inside of your dog’s ear, but if the cotton ball comes out gunky or stinky, your dog likely has an ear infection and needs a trip to the vet.

Out of dog treats and reluctant to run to the store for just one item? Running low on supplies due to panic-buyers clearing the shelves? It’s a stressful time for humans and pups alike, and we all deserve a treat or two to keep our spirits high! With this in mind, here are a couple simple recipes for dog treats you can make at home with short ingredient lists that won’t tax your pantry.

These recipes are also simple enough for little humans to be able to help in the preparation process, and will keep in the fridge for one week in an airtight container – that is, if Fido doesn’t get ‘em first!

Also featuring our official Taste-Tester, Mia!
 

Peanut Butter Treats

*1 cup oats
*1 ripe banana
*1 egg
*3 Tbsp peanut butter

Mash up the banana with the egg and peanut butter. Stir in the oats. Place spoonfuls of batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and smoosh them a little with a fork. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Mia’s Rating: 4.5/5 stars
“What’s that? Is it for me? GIMME!”

Chewy Cheesy Puffs*
 
*1 cup flour
*1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
*1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
*1/2 cup evaporated lowfat milk
*1 egg

Mix everything together thoroughly. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes.
*Some dogs have trouble digesting dairy – don’t overdo it on these treats until you know how you pup reacts.

Mia’s Rating: 4/5 stars
“Mmmmm, cheesey!”
Have fun baking! And remember, Hot Diggity is currently offering Grocery Shopping Services if you’d like to add these ingredients to your next grocery delivery (these are Large Shopping Trip and Large Shopping Trip in your Client Portal!)

It’s spring in Portland! That means we’ll have beautiful sunny weather for long walks with our dogs…for about a week, before the rain returns! So – how do you keep your active pup entertained indoors (or simply occupied while you hop on your Zoom meeting)? Beyond the trusty frozen peanut butter Kong – here are a couple game ideas to keep Fido (and yourself!) sane while stuck indoors!

 

Hunt-the-Treat in the Muffin Tin

Begin with approximately 40 small treats (“training treats,” or large treats broken up into small pieces) or small cubes of cut up chicken or cheese, and drop 3 or 4 pieces into each cup of a metal muffin sheet. Place a tennis ball or other toy on top of each cup so the treats are covered. Your dog will have to lift or nudge the ball out of the way to reach the treats. Different sized balls and different toys will have different fits, meaning each one will require some trial and error to figure out how to get the yummies underneath! Make it more exciting by using a couple different kinds of treats, or more challenging by leaving some cups empty – your dog will have to learn to differentiate the scent between the cups with the treats, versus the decoys!

 

Nose Training Scavenger Hunt 

Pick a room in your home that you feel comfortable using for a pup scavenger hunt! Once selected, have your dog sit and stay in another room or around the corner. Take a handful of small treats and hide them around the room. Then, give your dog the command “find it!” or something similar, and let them follow their nose to the hidden rewards. The beauty of this game is that it can be as easy or difficult as you need to challenge your dog. For the first couple rounds, you may leave the treats in easy to find locations – but once they have the hang of that, don’t be afraid to get creative! You can even hide treats under plastic cups or under blankets or towels to really challenge your pup to explore their surroundings and work with their noses!

 

Toy Name Memory Game 

Did you know that a dog has roughly the same intelligence as a 2 year old child and the capability to learn over 200 words? We can put those linguistic capabilities to good use by teaching them the names of their toys! Begin by assigning a name to one of their favorite toys – for this example we’ll use “red ball”. By simply repeating the name while playing with the toy, they’ll start to pick up on the name you’re using. Set the toy on the ground, and ask your pup to get the “red ball.” Praise your pup (and offer a treat!) the moment they get the toy. Once your dog has memorized the name of the first toy, try adding a couple new toys around the original on the ground, and repeat the process, continuing to praise and treat your pup when they guess correctly! Repeat the process until your pup has the names of a few toys completely memorized. You may then set them out and have your dog go get their “red ball” for an encouraging playtime session!

 

If you’re looking for more enrichment ideas for your pets, a great resource is a book called “Beyond Squeaky Toys” – written by a local Oregon author!

Before you take on the responsibility of another dog, you must ensure that you will be able to handle adding another friend to your family. Make sure that you will be able to afford the costs of more food, supplies, medicine, and vet appointments. It is also important that you have enough space for your dog, especially if they are a larger breed. 

Do you have enough time for the new dog? This is another important question to ask yourself because a new furry friend means even more time outside exercising your pups. It can be a lot of work, especially if you aren’t expecting it. If you’re ready for the added responsibility, however, bringing a new pet home can be a great experience. There are just a few things to keep in mind.

Before They Arrive

Before your dog comes home, you should prepare your house for the new addition. If you have a dog already, this is a good time to make sure that your house is safe for additional pets. For example, ensure that the houseplants that you have are safe for dogs. If you are bringing home a puppy, it may be wise to take additional steps to make your home and yard safe for the dog. You may also want to purchase important supplies for your pup ahead of time, including things like food, bowls for food and water, a collar, a leash, and toys.

Introductions

Before you officially bring your dog home, you should ensure that everyone will get along with the new pet. To do this, take the time to make sure all members of your household meet the new addition and give their approval. This includes your existing pets! Many shelters will allow you to bring your dogs and cats to the shelter to meet the new dog to ensure that they can live harmoniously. Additionally, introducing your pets in neutral territory like a shelter will keep resource guarding and aggression at bay. 

Remember that all dogs have different personalities and preferences. There will be certain dogs that won’t get along; that’s normal. However, it is important to find this out before you bring a new dog home instead of after. Otherwise, this tension can lead to territorial aggression, something that can also result from anxiety in your dogs. Introducing them ahead of time is a good way to help avoid this issue completely. 

If it isn’t possible to make introductions in a neutral space like a shelter, it is important to gradually introduce your pets as opposed to just tossing them together. Consider introducing your dogs while they are in a crate, then easing them out of it once they’ve calmed down have become somewhat used to the new addition’s presence. Don’t forget that you’ll also need to take time to walk the new pet around their new home. When introducing your dog to the new home, it is helpful to introduce a bit of the house at a time. Consider allowing them to look around one room at a time.

Home Alone

It can be very stressful for your dog to be home alone in a place with which they are unfamiliar, especially if they are home alone with new animals. At first, try to limit the amount of time that your dog is home alone. One way to make it easier for them is to set up a quiet and calm place for them to be while they are at home alone, like a bed with their own toys.

If any of your dogs suffer from separation anxiety, a new addition to the environment can increase this dramatically. Limiting initial alone time together is a good way to combat this, in addition to things like CBD oil for anxiety, and crate training. A lot of dog owners are turning to this natural remedy to help make their pup feel more comfortable when they’re alone.

If you choose crate training, gradually ease them into the space and make it comfortable for them. If your new dog is a puppy, ensure that the crate will have enough space as they grow. It may also help to set up the crate in a room that makes them comfortable and is away from noise and distractions. Make sure it is well-ventilated and light enough, too. The crate should be seen as a safe space for your dog, not a punishment, so you want to ensure the space suits them.

Settling In

When your dog is the newest addition to your family, it will be easy to shower them with attention. Remember, however, that you’ll eventually want them to fit in with the rest of your family on a daily basis without special attention. Try not to give them too much attention, in other words, because doing so could inadvertently train them to expect praise and treats all the time. Make sure that you love all of your pets equally and include them all as a part of your family. One way to do this is to take your dogs for walks together, which will help them to be active and bonded. It may take time to adjust them to this new routine, so make sure that you remain patient with your dogs and reward positive behavior. You may also plan “doggie dates” for them to all bond with each other and the family. This will help to acclimate the new dog and create shared time together.

 

Bringing a new pet home is no small decision, and there are many things to consider before making the choice. If you do decide that expanding the family is the right choice for you, make sure to use this guide to ensure a smooth transition for everyone.

This guest post is from Madison Adams, you can view her travel blog here!

So, your beloved Buster has taken over your couch and chances are, they make you feel guilty by staring at you with their huge puppy-dog eyes each time you tell them to come down. If this keeps up, you won’t be able to enjoy watching your favorite TV show without smelling musty or getting pet hair all over your jeans. (Although pet hair is an emblem of love for many fur-parents, your guests might think otherwise.) And now that autumn is bringing back Portland’s signature rain (and mud), you really don’t want your outdoorsy dog tracking dirt onto your furniture. So, what now?

1. Break the Habit and Stick to the New Rule

Breaking the habit is going to be a challenge if you and your dog are used to snuggling on the couch or watch TV together; however, you need to be consistent to be successful. A dog can be clingy and just like a human child, thinks they own everything you do. Whether you have changed your mind about pet-friendly furniture because your dog is shedding heavily or incessantly chewing the couch or pillows, once you make a rule, it’s up to you to stick to it. Make sure every family member (mom, dad, sister, brother, even cat if you can) sticks to the rule; otherwise, it can confuse your furry family member.

2. Training and Treats Go a Long Way

Say “get off,” “down,” or a similar command each time you catch them lying on the couch or as soon as you see them putting their paws up on the furniture. They will act stubbornly at first but be persistent. Bite-sized goodies tossed on the floor can be a good way to entice all four paws onto the ground. When Buster gets it right, make a fuss and reward them with more treats.

3. Make Sure Your Dog Loves Their Bed

The reason dogs prefer lounging on your couch instead of their own bed might be that they find the comfy couch a lot nicer than the bed you bought at a bargain sale. Try making the couch less appealing by providing a cozier and a more enticing bed with pillows and some toys that your dog will surely love. You may also plug in a DAP diffuser near their bed for the first few weeks to create a welcoming atmosphere as they breathe in soothing pheromones.

4. Provide Their Own Sofa

Whether Buster loves fetch, tug-of-war, running, or digging, nothing beats spending time with their owner even if it means binge-watching the newest Shonda Rhimes series all day. Keeping you company is a way of showing how much they love you, and we all love that feeling. Instead of telling Buster to go away, provide a comfy alternative to your sofa – and if a regular dog bed isn’t cutting it, you may want to try creating their own sofa or chair. You can place it right beside your couch so you can both be comfortable while the two of you spend quality time together.

5. Don’t Punish the Pooch

We hope this goes without saying: never punish your pet by hitting or spanking. Not only is negative punishment harsh and cruel, but it is also ineffective and will only result in more behavioral issues. Scold them, tell them “off” or another word you decide to use when they try to push the boundaries and use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior instead of punishing naughtiness. If Buster growls at you or challenges you when you enforce boundaries, you may want to think about taking some training classes together to reinforce your authority and strengthen your bond.

You and Buster love each other and with a few simple (and consistent) changes, you can enjoy your quality time together in a way that keeps everyone happy.

 

This guest post is from Brian Morgan, an editor at DogBedZone.com where he writes about picking the best dog bed for your pup. The site also features tips, guides, and resources for dog owners.

Diabetes is one of the commonly known medical conditions that can affect humans and animals like cats, pigs, dogs, and horses. Just like humans, a big part of caring for a diabetic cat is at-home care and pet owners need to know as much about their pet’s condition as possible – from symptoms through the diagnosis process and treatment options. While there is no permanent cure for diabetes, it can be regulated and managed so your cat can continue live a quality life.  

Usually, diabetes is more common for older pets, but it can present in younger and pregnant pets as well. Obesity and a high carbohydrate diet are two of the most commonly known triggers that may lead to diabetes in cats, while for dogs genetics play a more dominating role.

Like humans, cats develop diabetes when the pancreas doesn’t produce an adequate amount of insulin or the production is inefficient, leading to unstable blood sugar level or diabetes in the cat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose or sugar in the body travel to cells where it gets turned into energy.

Symptoms

Just like most other medical issues, the earlier you diagnose your cat’s condition, the easier it is for you to stabilize his or her sugar level.

Increased appetite is one of the most common signs of diabetes, especially if your cat is losing weight even when eating more, or while her diet remains the same as before. Excessive thirst is another symptom and this, naturally, leads to more frequent urination. With diabetic cats, dehydration is a real potential, even though they’re consuming more water than usual.  

Diagnosis

If you notice these symptoms, make an appointment with your vet right away for a physical exam and blood and urine tests to positively diagnose diabetes. Head’s up – before testing can be done, your vet may ask you to not feed anything for at least 12 hours before your appointment.  

Treatment

Cats need insulin to properly utilize glucose and metabolize protein and fats to produce energy for the body. With problems in the production of the insulin hormone, sugar or glucose may accumulate inside the blood vessels. This excess glucose can go to waste through the urine, which may starve the body for energy. One of the most commonly prescribed treatment options for diabetes is insulin therapy, which involves giving an insulin injection to meet the deficiency. (Hot Diggity! pet sitters can administer insulin shots while you’re at work or out of town – just let us know this is part of your pet care needs.)

Cats may need some medications along with the insulin injections and working with your vet on a treatment program is key. Besides the medical care, treatment often involves proper home care from healthy meal planning to getting some exercise on regular basis.

If you have more questions about your cat’s diabetes, make sure to consult your veterinarian for help and to provide the best care for your pet.


This guest post is from Mike Hutson, a blogger who believes you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat their pet. Being an animal lover and a pet owner himself, Mike uses his blog to create more awareness for how one can take better care of their pets, by talking about diabetic cat treatment options and other general precautions. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Summer is officially here and plants are on our minds!

Thanks to the miracle of chlorophyll, even during winter plants are fantastic at keeping our indoor air clean and fresh. They’re also great for supporting our mental health by reducing our stress levels. Unfortunately, many indoor horticulturists’ favorite plants are dangerous to the health of our four-legged family members.

Lilies, asparagus ferns, and even aloe vera can be dangerous for curious pets and cause discomfort, illness, or even endanger their lives. Unless you keep your plants high out of reach and are careful about picking up any fallen leaves, it’s best to proactively protect your family by making sure the plants you do bring home won’t pose any risk.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 6 beautiful and commonly available plants that are perfect for improving your home while keeping your pets safe.

Pink Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum): This beautiful plant (pictured above) will bloom nearly all year long starting in February, filling your home with it’s wonderful scent and providing you with beautiful star-shaped white and pink blossoms. In the summer months it loves lots of indirect sunlight, and during the winter it doesn’t need as much, making it perfect for those Pacific Northwest grey days. During the summer the soil should be moist, though you can let it dry between waterings. Water it less through the fall, and let it be slightly dry in the winter and spring seasons. The blossoms require a humid atmosphere which isn’t too hard to achieve in the Portland area, but if you’re finding it’s dropping it’s blossoms too quickly you can set the pot on top of a pan filled with pebbles and add a small layer of water to the pebbles that will evaporate and add moisture to the air.

Note that not all varieties of Jasmine plants can withstand living indoors. Some can grow up to 15’ tall and while that would definitely provide you with a huge wall of gorgeous flowers, it would probably be a little difficult to care for. Make sure that when purchasing a Jasmine plant you find one that can thrive in the indoors. It will also want to trail, so it’s best to set it up on a high shelf, put it in a hanging basket, or give it some scaffolding to climb.

For more information about growing Pink Jasmine indoors, check out this blog post from Dave’s Garden.

 

Madagascar Jasmine (Stephanotis floribunda): Despite being called “Madagascar Jasmine” this plant is not part of the Jasmine family. Unlike Jasmine which is native to China, Stephanotis floribunda is native to Madagascar. It too has beautiful star-shaped white flowers and smells wonderful, but you’ll find it’s leaves are larger and darker than that of Pink Jasmine. Madagascar Jasmine is a bit more sensitive than Pink Jasmine, but you’ll never have to worry about them when you leave for vacations (maybe to Madagascar!) because here at Hot Diggity! we’re always careful to follow all your household care notes.

Madagascar Jasmine requires strong, but indirect sunlight. They need loamy soil that drains well but maintains moisture. Don’t worry about creating your own mix, just be sure to buy high quality potting soil when going plant shopping. They too need to have humid air, so also consider putting their pot on top of a rock plate with a small layer of water that can evaporate over the day for them. Misting with a spray bottle can also be effective.

 

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Spider plants are classic, easy to care for, and they sprout lots of new shoots so it’s easy to share them with your pet (or plant) loving friends! They grow well in low-light conditions so they can bring some color to our grey winter days without the need for a grow light. They need a fair amount of water and like to dry out between watering. They’re hearty so even if you’re notoriously bad at keeping houseplants alive (we get it) this is a great starter option!

Spider plants can be grown in pots or hanging baskets, so keep in mind that their stems and grass-like leaves have a tendency to dangle. It might be a good idea to place them high up to avoid any cat-induced accidents – those little tufts can look a lot like feather toys to some – though this is more for the plant’s sake since they’re safe for any curious cat or dog.

 

African Violets (Saintpaulia)

African violets can bring a beautiful pop of purple, pink, blue, or white to your home (depending on the variety). This generally low-maintenance plant can thrive without bright light and bloom throughout the year, though just like many cats we know, they do enjoy warmth and a sunny spot as much as possible.

Added bonus – they also bring air purifying goodness to your indoor spaces!

 

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata bostoniensis)

Thanks to Garfield, we know that ferns are not harmful to cats (and the ASPCA confirms that Boston ferns are safe for both cats and dogs). It’s like bringing a little bit of the beautiful Pacific Northwest forest indoors, and just like in their forest homes, they do well with high humidity and indirect light.

If you need to have the fern in a dryer environment (like when we’re all blasting the heat mid-January) you may want to mist it once or twice a week or set it in a tray of pebbles and water. Placing your fern in the bathroom where it naturally gets a steam bath is a great hands-off option!

The Boston fern is one of the easiest to care for, but all true ferns such as the maidenhair are great for pet-friendly households. However, beware some so-called “ferns” such as the asparagus fern, which is in fact part of the lily family.

 

Palms (Chamaedora)

There are many types of palms that are safe for the furry members of the household, including areca, bamboo, parlor, and ponytail palms, and they’re all relatively easy to care for as well! Despite the sunny beach association the name inspires, palms don’t need a lot of light and do well in just about any room in the house.

The parlor palm (pictured) is a charming houseplant grows in clusters. The areca is a more quintessential tree-like version that can grow to seven feet, while the ponytail palm grows to around three feet, and the bamboo palm really makes a statement at up to 12 feet tall and five feet wide. Keep the size in mind when selecting the location and the pot!

Palms like their soil to dry out between waterings, so you will only need to water once a week (or less). Test the soil before you water and make sure they’re draining well and not sitting in water. Ponytail palms are in fact succulents so their trunks store water and only require minimal watering in the winter. The ponytail palm likes bright light, so in Oregon it could do well being outdoors in the summer and indoors in the colder months.  

Keep in mind that (like the “fern”) seeing “palm” in a plant’s common name isn’t a guarantee that it’s safe for pets. The sago palm, for example, is not true palm but rather a cycad and is toxic to pets.

There are many options for pet-friendly indoor plants depending on your style and space and all of these listed are relatively easy to find at the local garden center or nursery. They range in size, color, and shape, and are fairly easy to care for in an indoor setting in the greater Pacific Northwest region so feel free to bring that green indoors!

July 4th usually means lots of fireworks, and lots of fireworks can cause some serious anxiety for your pets. Here are a few friendly ways to help keep your pets calm when the show begins:

  1. Keep your pets indoors before the fireworks are set to begin. If they need to go outside, be sure to keep them on a leash.
  2. If possible, keep your pets with you. They will feel the most at ease in your presence.
  3. If you plan on being away from home, avoid leaving your pet alone. Having someone around with whom your pets are familiar with is a great alternative. (We’ll be there with extra snuggles if you need us!) If you plan on taking pets to a boarding facility, take them for a visit beforehand or use a place they are already familiar with. A new experience combined with the loud noises can cause extra stress.
  4. If there are lots of fireworks in your neighborhood, it’s not a bad idea to start preparing your pet by acclimating them to the sound of fireworks. Playing recordings or videos will help prep your pets so they’re not completely caught off guard the night of the celebrations.
  5. Drown out the loud booms by playing music or having the TV on at a decently loud volume.
  6. Make sure the blinds and curtains are closed.
  7. Keep in mind that many pets love to crawl into confined spaces when they are scared. Dogs, in particular, may want to be in their kennel or hide under the bed. Allow them access to these spaces to seek out extra comfort.
  8. For pets who already have major anxiety, you may want to ask your vet about a mild sedative or look into purchasing a ThunderShirt.
  9. Provide your pets with lots of extra exercise that day to help wear them out.
  10. Give your pets something fun to play and occupy their attention such as a Kong toy filled with treats or xylitol-free dog-safe peanut butter or new catnip toys for your cats.
  11. Make sure all garbage cans and bags are well sealed so a curious or anxious dog doesn’t decide to go after the leftovers from your BBQ or picnic or munch on shiny fireworks remnants looking for food.

And remember, all pets should have their collar on with identification tags in case you get separated. If they’re microchipped, make sure the information is up to date. New Year’s Eve and the 4th of July are the two biggest days of the year for pets on the loose.

By taking some precautions to comfort them we can help keep our furry friends safe and calm so we can all enjoy celebrating!

Sources: dovelewis.org, positively.com, cesarsway.com

 

What makes in-home pet sitting different from boarding? What does having a professional pet sitter in your home mean? If you’re not sure about options for services when you’re out of town and can’t take pets with you or you’re concerned about having a “stranger” in your home while you’re gone, you’ve come to the right blog post!

One of our most popular services at Hot Diggity! is Overnight In-Home Pet Sitting. This is very different from boarding pets at a separate facility since you will have a dedicated sitter and your pets will get to stay in the comfort of their own home.

A boarding facility is an unfamiliar environment to them where all the smells, sights, and sounds are different. Many boarding facilities can be loud and chaotic, causing anxiety for shy pets. Dogs that are reactive to other dogs really should not be in boarding facilities since they pose a risk to the other boarded dogs and therefore themselves as well. Their movement is often limited to just a kennel and personalized attention can cost extra. Another risk for both cats and dogs in boarding facilities is communicable diseases such as kennel cough. Conversely, if your pet is sick and could be contagious to others, they would pose a risk to those other pets.

And let’s face it, we all prefer to stay in the place we are familiar with and that we share with the people we know and love. When those people have to leave for business trips or vacations, the next best option is in-home pet care so your pets can follow their normal daily routines while enjoying lots of snuggles from a dedicated sitter.

Many Hot Diggity! sitters are capable of administering medicinal shots if a pet needs insulin injections or more. That kind of care doesn’t cost extra either. If that’s what your pet needs, it’s what we provide.

With an Overnight In-Home Pet Sit, your sitter will check in at the start of the service and will send you at least one photo of your pets and a written update during each portion of the stay. You can easily communicate with them through either our portal or our app and ask them questions or provide feedback if needed. We aim to give you absolute peace of mind that your pets and your home are being taken care of, and that’s what many of our clients report feeling:

Our sitters spend the entire night in your homes (following your instructions on where to sleep etc.,) and keep to your pets’ normal routine in the morning. They have someone to snuggle with (if they’re allowed in bed) and as an added bonus, your house looks occupied while you’re away. We can also bring in the mail, water your plants, and take out the trash.

Naturally, one of the greatest hesitations people have about using an in-home pet sitting service is security. At Hot Diggity! your pets’ health and happiness is our #1 priority and we thoroughly vet the background and integrity of our sitters. Unlike your friendly neighborhood kid, we are licensed, bonded, and insured pet sitters. Many of our sitters are Pet CPR certified, too. We take our responsibility to protect your home and pets very seriously and are always prepared in case of an emergency.

We hope this post has answered some of your questions about what in-home pet sitting involves with Hot Diggity!, and if you want to know more or schedule a pet sit for your next trip (summer vacation, anyone?) send us a message or give us a call.

We want to make your journeys as easy as possible so we offer a few additional options including a special Welcome Home Service where we pick up a few groceries for you so you can come home from a long vacation or business trip to fresh fruits and vegetables instead of an empty fridge.

Traveling can be stressful enough as it is even without pets at home to worry about. That’s one of the many reasons why Hot Diggity! is always here with our Availability Guarantee to help you enjoy your trips with a relaxed sense of security. Put your mind at ease and give us a call!

Living in the Portland metro area, dogs that love playing outside are usually limited to backyards or fenced-in parks. While the off-leash parks in Portland and the suburbs are usually pretty great, Portland has one huge secret paradise for dogs that is absolutely incredible; the Sandy River Delta Park.

Sandy River Delta Park is open year-round and is the doggie equivalent to Disney World. It’s a massive, thousand-acre park where dogs are allowed to roam free (except for the parking lot and the Confluence Trail), and us humans can get in a lovely, easy, walk. People also bring their horses here, so if you’ve ever wanted to let Buster see a horse in real life there’s a pretty good chance of that here!

The park encompasses a large forest section, grassland area and, of course, the Sandy River section. It is seldom busy (even on summer weekends) and there is always plenty of parking available. If you’re considering taking your dog to a beach, Sandy River is a wonderful alternative to ocean beach. It’s safer, has shaded areas, and tends to have fewer small children present. The water is also shallow and lazy, making it fairly easy to grab toys that drop in on accident.

Later in the summer there are ample blackberries to pick–who loves pie?!  Aside from foxtail seeds and the extremely rare sea lion, this is a very safe place to go spend a warm summer day.

Note of Caution: Dogs must be on-leash on the Confluence Trail–there’s a $100 fine if you are caught without your dog on a leash. If you’re looking for an off-leash friendly option, try the The Meadow Trail.

Recommendations for when you go:

  • Bring something to carry your full doggie bags with you, trashcans are few and far between and often overflowing.
  • Bring a towel to wipe off sand or mud (for the car)–double use as a place to sit on the riverbank.
  • Bug repellant is especially helpful in late Summer/Fall.
  • In warmer months remember to wear sunscreen and put a little sunscreen on your dog’s nose too!
  • When grasses are going to seed bring something to cover your dog’s nose and ears so that they don’t breathe in the harmful seeds called foxtails. These can get lodged in a dog’s lungs, nose, or ears and later require vet attention. The OutFox Field Guard is the best solution I’ve seen so far, but any other product or DIY suggestions are welcome!

If you do head out to the Sandy River Delta Park, send some pictures. If you have other favorite parks in the area, we’d love to hear about them too!

Have fun!