marketing, Author at Hot Diggity! Pet Sitting

Its no secret that our dog pals love to eat. Not only do they want a piece of their food, but they typically want a piece of our food as well! With those adorable faces staring right at you, it can be hard to say no. But it is so important to know if the scraps you feed your furry friend are actually safe for them.

Most of us know the basics; no corn cobs, chocolate or grapes. But after doing a little more digging, there were some foods I found to be a surprise on the do-not-feed list. Some of them may seem obvious, some less so. It’s never a bad idea to brush up on these DONT’S. It can be all too easy to slip our mind and give our pets a piece of our left overs.

  • Bacon- I’m sure we have many guilty dog parents who wanted to give their pal their first piece of bacon. I’ve found from multiple sources that bacon can lead to serious digestive issues or if given too much can cause pancreatitis, which can be very dangerous for our four legged friends!
  • Peanut Butter- Not that this is a complete no no. However, I wanted to shine a light on the fact to make sure the peanut butter does not contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is an ingredient deadly to dogs. Added salt content is also bad for their cardiovascular health. Peanut Butter is a lifesaver when it comes to getting stubborn doggos to take their medication, so just make sure it’s free from salt and especially xylitol. Adam’s 100% Natural Peanut Butter is a delicious and easily available brand that carries a plain Peanut Butter safe for dogs.
  • Raw Eggs- I’m sure there are plenty of people who like to crack open an egg and pour it over dog food to make it more appealing, however this cause a high risk of catching salmonella and e. coli infections, and a dogs system can have a hard time battling that off.
  • Raw Potatoes- Green Potato Poisoning happens when dogs eat too much solanine, a compound found in raw potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants. The symptoms include heart problems, breathing difficulty, and digestive issues.
  • Dairy- Pouring some milk in the dog bowl or sharing your ice cream cone may sound like a good idea, but dogs stomachs can not process diary the same way we do, so it can end up leading to a lot of uncomfortable stomach issues if consumed too often. Watch the yogurt servings too, some dogs can be sensitive to it!
  • Honorable mentions: Cherry pits, mushrooms, garlic/onions, apricot pit, avocado pits.

Now let’s focus on some of the healthy human foods we CAN feed our four legged friends!

  • Apples- Is a great source of vitamin A & C as well as an excellent fiber source. Just make sure to remove the seeds, which can be not so great for dogs to digest!
  • Blueberries- Are an excellent source of antioxidants for dogs, and make good treats for tossing in the air for them to catch.
  • Brussels Sprouts- Are loaded with great nutrients for dogs, just don’t give them too much or they may get gassy.
  • Carrots- Are a great low calorie snack, and great for strong healthy teeth.
  • Celery- Is a great healthy snack loaded with vitamins.
  • Cucumber- Is a great treat for overweight dogs , and can even help boost energy levels.
  • Honorable mentions in moderation: Pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, spinach, watermelon, bananas, and broccoli

I hope this list shines a light on some of the delicious human foods you keep in your kitchen, and just remember; our stomach and their stomach don’t process foods the same way. A lot of these can vary on the breed, size, and age of your dog, and you could be doing a lot more harm then good for their digestive system.

Sources- akc.org, iheartdogs.com, webmd.com, dogtime.com, foodbeast.com, aspca.org, petpoisonhelpline.com

Hello everyone and welcome to Know Your Pet Sitter! Today your host is me, Lana!

Outside of Hot Diggity! and ever since I was 12 years old, on and off, I’ve been a piano teacher. During some seasons of life, I took a break from the music world due to burnout, and other times it took a break from me – like when we moved 7 times in 4 years and I couldn’t bring my instrument with me, or when my children were young and wild. Now, though, I have 10 students that I see weekly, and just recently, I brought home a beautiful new grand piano that will be with me for a long, long time. I named her Esme.

What’s the thing I love the most about my life besides Hot Diggity? It seems too easy, but I can’t answer this question without saying it’s my family. My husband is my high school sweetheart, and we’ve been married for 15 years now. We have two boys who are growing like weeds before my very eyes and I can see glimpses of the amazing men they will become. I am perpetually thankful to God for our health and our collective spirit of adventure that we get to live out in crazy beautiful Oregon together.

Another thing I love is this little Chinese dive in Aloha, called Szechuan House, lodged in between an underground sports bar and a laundromat. The food comes to the table literally two minutes after you order it, like they started making it when they saw you pull into the parking lot. I really don’t know how they do it! The portions are huge, and as a random bonus, it was a film location for a Jennifer Aniston movie, so you can gaze upon her autographed vestige framed on the wall and try to get yourself seated at the same table she used in the movie.

There are so many things to look back on from the summer! This past June, I went to visit my home state of Minnesota for the first time in 6 years, and my husband bought me tickets to the Bruno Mars concert in July; which was amazing. Then in August, there was the solar eclipse. Since I didn’t know about it years in advance, I wasn’t quick enough to get a hotel room or campsite in the prime viewing area, but I didn’t give up.

Long-term, I want to stay active and healthy until I am a tiny, wizened old woman. When I am 75, I still want to be hiking the trails and have leathery brown skin and wind burned cheeks from being outdoors daily in the sun and breeze. I have a huge sweet tooth that I have to fight to curb, but I try hard to keep my body moving and strong and eat mostly clean foods so that I can get a running start at that longevity. I have had serious back and foot issues before that have taken me down for months at a time, and it makes me deeply grateful for healing when it comes and a renewed appreciation of just being able to walk/run and be independent, and a reminder to never take a single day of that freedom for granted.

When it comes to Hot Diggity! the thing I love the most is hands down our team. I don’t know how they plucked all the most amazing people out of Portland and made them Hot Diggity-ites, but they did it. The mutual encouragement, support, respect and appreciation among the walkers and the office staff is truly special. The positive energy starts there and radiates out to every client we serve during the day. I go through my walks feeling privileged to be entrusted with the care of people’s furriest family members while they are away. The icing on top of the cake is those bright, shiny puppy eyes and unfettered joy that waits for me behind every door, every time. Then out into the fresh Oregon air we go together – how can it not be a great day??

Whitney, a great Portland Dog Walker and Pet Sitter took this cute photo of her rescued dog at the Oregon beachHello everyone! My name is Whitney, and I have been a walker with Hot Diggity! for a year and a half now. This job is so special and rewarding, I love all the different animals I get to encounter through dog walking and pet sitting here. But one thing I’ve noticed over my time here is that many Portland pet owners seem to prefer buying purebred pets instead of rescuing the mixed breed dogs more commonly found in shelters. Sometimes rescued dogs may be a little harder to win over, but it’s so gratifying when you finally make that breakthrough! I may be a bit biased when it comes to rescues since I come from a household of four shelter dogs, each with their own set of quirks and personal issues, but finally gaining their trust really is the most rewarding and special part about rescued pets.

When you walk into a shelter, you may think you have an idea of what you are looking for, but choosing a rescue it isn’t about what you see, it’s how you feel when you interact with them. It’s an instant connection or an overwhelming feeling that makes you say “this is the one!” You may not always find that special one your first couple of shelter visits, but it is absolutely worth the wait.

Here are three fantastic local Portland shelters that I’d recommend checking out to find your next best friend:

Family Dogs New Life ShelterFind your new best friend to take on walks in Portland at Family Dogs New Life Shelter

With a 4 Star Yelp rating this shelter is a non profit no-kill, that focuses on giving dogs of all breeds and ages a second chance at finding the right match. They typically only take 35-50 dogs at a time, so that all the dogs can interact and run around together, but are put in their own crates at night. This gives them a perfect balance for being well socialized, but always gets the dogs in good sleeping habits. I love that like myself they have a soft spot for Pit Bulls which are a very loving and misunderstood breed. They’ve even created a section on their website called “Piteos”, which features adorable Pit Bull video’s! The website also contains information on ways to help out such as volunteering or fostering information, upcoming special events to help support the shelter, or how you can even sponsor a dog. All the little things Family Dogs New Life Shelter does to help their rescues just make my heart melt!

Find your new cat or dog best friend at the Pixie ProjectThe Pixie Project
While Family Dogs New Life Shelter may be a dogs only club, The Pixie Project not only has dogs, but cats as well if that is what you are looking for. With a Yelp 4 Star rating this shelter also has a lower count of animals in house at a time so that they can focus on giving them more attention and matching them with the right fur-ever home. The Pixie Project often pulls a lot of its rescues from overcrowded shelters or takes in owner surrenders. Another stand out about this Shelter is its low cost Veterinary Clinic to senior, veterans, disabled, homeless or low-income pet owners, with free spay and neutering. Like Family Dogs New Life Shelter, The Pixie Project has volunteer and fostering information, and holds special events to help animals in need. Make sure to pay attention to our Events page! We often donate gift certificates to their fundraisers and will let you know when events for them are coming up.

Oregon Humane SocietyTake a new best friend home today from the Oregon Humane Society and enjoy all the perks of being a pet owner in Portland
The Oregon Humane Society is perhaps the largest and most well-known shelter in the greater Portland area. They have a 4 Star Yelp rating and a huge variety of pets to select from. At OHS not only can you adopt cats and dogs, but you can also adopt rabbits, rats, birds, and even horses and farm animals! This shelter offers low-to no cost spay and neutering services, volunteering opportunities, as well as Emergency Animal Rescue for mistreated pets, or animals who are in danger or distraught. No doubt that OHS has done so much good for Portland pets over the decades. I know I have personally donated a good amount of money to supporting their cause!

I hope after reading this you feel inspired to go adopt instead of shop. Maybe even consider taking in a sweet elderly dog and give it the best final years of its life. Or take a risk on the dog who perhaps doesn’t mesh well with other dogs, but loves people. Or you could take home the funny looking kitty, because it wasn’t pretty enough to be sold at a pet store. If you do not feel ready to commit to a pet for the next several years of its life, perhaps shorter term fostering is the best path for you. Shelters also are always in need of volunteers to give these lonesome furbabes some loving attention.

And if you still have breed preferences, there’s always breed specific rescue organizations where you can combine your love for a particular breed with helping an in-need pet. Just check out our Community Partners page for more shelters and rescue organizations that Hot Diggity! loves and supports.

Be a pet’s hero and save a life. Let’s make the world a better place!

Whitney, a great Portland dog walker and pet sitter, took this cute picture of two of her sweet rescue dogs

 

This is a special guest post by the Synergy Behavior Solutions Team, a stellar veterinary behavior and training team dedicated to improving the lives of pets with behavioral issues. To learn more about them, read on and then visit them at their website.

It is not unusual for dogs to be worried or fearful of new people in their homes. For some dogs these behaviors are more pronounced when the owners are present. Some dogs are more worried when they are alone and a stranger (like a new dog walker) comes into the house. Here are a couple tips to help your dog feel more comfortable.

The first step to helping your dog be more comfortable is to learn how to “speak” dog by reading your dog’s body language. Dogs have a lot to communicate, if we just open our eyes to see them, instead of just our listening with our ears. Many people recognize the overly fearful dog who is hiding in the corner or the ones who are barking and lunging at people. What many people miss are the more subtle signs of stress and worry they might be showing before they are “screaming” (shaking, barking) with their body language. More subtle signs might include: avoiding eye contact, pinning ears back along the head, panting when it’s not hot, or refusing food. If your dog is giving you those more subtle signs of stress, remove them from the situation before they feel the need to escalate to more aggressive behavior. To learn more about dog body language and learn more about how to speak “dog” check out http://www.ispeakdog.org.

An essential part of dog care is knowing the dog's preference for treats or their dietary needs. Our Portland dog sitters and dog walkers always make sure to know these critical details!

The second step is to let your dog choose when to (or when not to) interact with the new person. Frequently, strangers want to make friends instantly with your dog. Like many people, dogs need time to warm up to strangers. When we let our dogs choose if they want to meet a person, it can be on their terms, when they feel comfortable. Don’t force your dog to interact by dragging them to meet the person, or even having the person hold out treats. Once your dog wants to approach the new person, have them ignore them. Have them avoid staring at the dog. Reaching out or leaning towards or over them can be an invasion of their personal space and scary. Instead let your dog sniff, approach and retreat as they deem necessary without physical interaction. Let your dog set their own time table of comfort. It may take minutes, it may be hours and it may be days. Slow and steady is the safest path to making new friends.

The next step is letting your dog choose how to interact with the new person. This is where reading body language is very important. Some dogs might like to play a game of treat tossing, where the person throws a treat away from them and your dog gets to find it. Then when they start approaching the person again, they toss another treat away. With this game, the dog is being rewarded for approaching but they do not need to come all the way to the new person. They are getting a double reward of the treat and also increasing distance away from the new person.

Some dogs eventually like to be touched. We suggest “touch testing” for these dogs. Start petting their chest or shoulder, but only for one to 3 seconds (yes seconds!) and stop. See if the dog moves closer or maybe nudges your hand, that is a yes from the dog to please continue. If when you stop the dog steps away, then it is time to stop touching them and give them a break. Do not encourage them to come back, wait, remember it’s their choice.

A cute dog cuddles their favorite Portland dog walkerThese are just a few helpful tips to get you started understand what your dog is saying and helping them be more comfortable. If your dog is showing signs of aggression towards strangers we recommend keeping everyone safe and avoiding interaction with strangers. Then, we recommend reaching out to your dog’s veterinarian, then an experienced reward-based behavior professional, for suggestions on training and behavior modification. Remember that using punishment may suppress reactivity towards people, but won’t address the underlying reasons (the emotional causes) for the negative behavior. There is a lot that can be done to decrease a dog’s anxiety and improve their relationships with people, so don’t wait! Ask for help.