cats Archives - Hot Diggity! Pet Sitting

If you have brought a new dog home and you find that he misses you terribly when you are gone, you have probably already discovered how helpful dog sitting and dog walking can be. Dogs by nature like to be active, and feel a strong need to be near their humans. So when they’re alone for too many hours, they can take out their frustration and energy on the furniture. In this post we highlight a few ways to help your dog associate entertainment with something other than your favorite Edwardian chair.

The Importance of Exercise

Your dog should ideally be taking several walks a day and at least a couple of nice long walks. They should have the opportunity to chase after a ball, run over a large safe surface, and enjoy smelling plants, trees and surfaces, as they love doing.

One of the main reasons for undesirable behavior, is a lack of physical activity. If your dog is acting up and you are at work all day just call us! We can help get your dog out on the town whether its a walk down the street, playing ball in the backyard, or even better- going on a whole half-day pack hike.

Even when at home outside of walk times your dog can still be entertained with safe chew toys for dogs. Make sure you use trusted brands only, since cheaper toys can chip and break off, or pose a possible choking risk for pooches. Puppies especially should have a wide range of toys, because they continue to teeth until they are about eight months old. You can also fill up a Kong toy with frozen xylitol-and-salt-free peanut butter to keep them hard at work for a few hours.

Check for Separation Anxiety

If your dog only misbehaves when you are away from the home, bringing home another dog (which will certainly provide welcome company for your pooch) won’t solve the problem of chewing.

As is the case with humans, desensitization can work well for separation anxiety. This treatment involves exiting the door for a few seconds, coming back in, lengthening your absence to a minute, then a few minutes, then half an hour etc., as a way of letting your dog know that absence is always temporary and that you are not abandoning them.

If you think your dog might have this condition it is important to speak to your veterinarian who may recommend treatment in severe cases. The key is to enhance your dog’s wellbeing through a combination of approaches. Exercise, for instance, is always a good approach.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

In addition to chewing, a dog with separation anxiety will often show other symptoms, including howling and barking, trying to escape, doing his necessities indoors, and pacing. One of the reasons it is so important to see your vet is that these behaviors may be caused by other conditions (including infection, bladder stones, neurological problems, etc.).

There are certain events that can bring about this type of anxiety, including a change of guardian, change in schedule, moving residence, etc. The death of a family member can also spark different behaviors.

Spraying Furniture as a Deterrent

When chewing is occasional, you can nip it in the bud by spraying your furniture with a natural spray, which you can make at home using essential oils. Blend around 1 cup of water with around 10 drops of citrus essential oils* and white distilled vinegar. The bonus of this type of spray is that (unlike sprays made with chemicals) it won’t contribute to indoor air pollution, yet it will lend your home a beautiful, natural fragrance; make sure you use therapeutic grade citrus essential oils, which are safe for dogs and humans alike.

To stop your dog from chewing on your furniture, provide him with plenty of activity, ensure he has toys to let out his chewing instinct on, and try natural deterrents you can make at home for a small price.

*WARNING for cat owners: Essential oils, including citrus oils, contain phenols which are harmless towards dogs and humans, but highly toxic to cats. Inhaling phenols or getting them on their fur and licking the phenols off will cause symptoms of toxicity and require veterinary intervention. Search for cat-friendly no-bite sprays such as Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray to use at home.

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

While it might be difficult to get used to at first for either a new cat owner or a new cat, nail trimming is an important part of keeping your feline healthy. Without regular trimming, cat’s nails can actually grow long enough that they will curve into the cat’s paws. This is not only painful, it can lead to serious infections too. Thankfully, trimming your cat’s nails doesn’t have to be an H. P. Lovecraft horror fest with a few training tips and tricks.

  • Start by training your cat to be comfortable with their paws being handled. While they’re relaxed from being pet, offer them treats while you handle their paws. Don’t continue if they become uncomfortable, and stop the treats when you stop handling their paws.
  • If they already like being on their back, this is the best position to be able to trim their nails in and a great time to train them to be comfortable with having their paws handled. However some adult cats already don’t like being on their backs and will have a hard time with it, so you’ll have to find an alternative position where they’re comfortable.
  • For adult cats that are already afraid of nail trimmers, help improve their association by pulling out the nail trimmers during happier times such as feeding and petting. Don’t use them at these times, but just place them nearby so that they become familiar with their form and reduce their negative association with them.
  • When do you trim a cat’s nails, start with just one at a time and then give them a treat. While they’re eating, cut the next nail if you can. It helps at this point to have an assistant providing your cat the treats.
  • Especially at first, don’t trim more than five at a time. This helps reduce the stress buildup from reaching the point where your cat will want to run away.
  • If your cat really really can’t stand it, you can gently wrap them in a towel and trim one foot at a time. Even with this method it’s best not to go for all four paws at once. If they’re angry or stressed that will build up their negative association with trimmers and make every attempt difficult and unpleasant. However if used gently, the towel method can be a helpful training tool in the beginning for particularly skittish kitties.
  • Make sure you’re not trimming their nails too far! You only want to clip off the sharp clear end, avoiding the pink quick inside which is sensitive. This is why it’s helpful to have an assistant, your cat comfortable so they’re not pulling away, and especially to have trimers that are sharp and easy for you to handle and see the nail while using.

Here’s a handy video to give you a visual overview of the process of trimming your cat’s nails,

We wish you luck with helping your cat become comfortable getting their nails trimmed! If you have any other tips or tricks, feel free to let us know! And if you’re on the lookout for a new feline best friend, check out some of our favorite cat rescues on our Community Partners page.

Further reading: http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/trim-your-cats-nails-without-the-stress

With a New Year comes lots of fireworks, and lots of fireworks means some possible serious anxiety for your pets. Here are a few friendly reminders on how to keep your pets calm when the clock strikes twelve:

  1. Definitely keep your pets indoors before the fireworks are set to begin.
  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. If you plan on leaving them at a boarding facility, it’s better to be sure they have been there before. It may give them extra anxiety if it’s a new experience combined with the loud noises.
  4. If your home is an area where you expect to hear a lot of fireworks go off, it’s not a bad idea to start preparing your pet by acclimating them to the sound of fireworks. Playing firework recordings or videos will help prep your pets a bit more experience with the noise instead of completely catching them off guard the night of the celebrations.
  5. Drown out the loud booms by having some music playing inside the house or having the TV on at a decently loud volume. Make sure you have blinds and curtains closed in the house.
  6. Keep in mind that many pets love to crawl into confined spaces when they are scared. Dogs in particular may want access to their kennel or to hide under the bed. Allow them access to these spaces to seek out extra comfort.
  7. For pets who already have major anxiety, you may want to ask your vet about some medication options for sedation and/or look into purchasing a ThunderShirt.
  8. Provide your pets with lots of extra exercise that day to help wear them out.
  9. 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 for your dogs or new catnip toys for your cats.

Remember, all pets should have their collar on with identification tags in case they do escape and get scared away. Even better would be to have your pets microchipped too with up to date information. New Year’s Eve and the Fourth 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 ensure that our furry friends won’t be lost and scared at the beginning of the New Year!

Sources: positively.com, cesarsway.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??

With the summer travel season coming up, one of the peak seasons for travel is also on the horizon. And if you’re getting together with loved ones, these trips can be wonderful occasions to take your most loved ones along with you — your pets! Whether you are headed for the mountains or some fun in the sun, having your best four-legged friend along makes the trip that much more enjoyable. And to make the trip easier too, check out these tips for getting prepared to bring your pet on the road:

  1. Try AAA for pet-friendly planning. When putting together any vacation with animals, check out AAA’s Petbook. Updated annually, the AAA Petbook features more than 14,000 AAA-approved and Diamond-rated hotels, campgrounds, and other attractions that welcome four-footed travelers. The book also provides information about emergency clinics in case you run into medical trouble, and dog parks for those necessary breaks from being cooped up (for humans and pets alike!). The book can be found at participating AAA/CAA club offices, select bookstores, and online booksellers.
  2. Control parasites for your pet’s comfort. No matter where you’re traveling, be wary of fleas, ticks, and other parasites. These pesky pests cause distress in dogs and cats alike — and can be an expensive health hazard to you. Recently, the number of generic, vet-quality flea-and-tick products on the market makes giving your pets protection throughout the year economical and easier to obtain. Always be sure to consult your pet’s vet before using a medication and follow the instructions carefully. Additionally, pet owners who travel with the pooches need to take care that bed bugs that hide in carpets, mattress seams, and headboards aren’t carried home in your dog’s carrier. Check for bedbugs before accepting a hotel room. As a preventative measure there are many bed bug repellents on the market, many rely on plant oils such as rosemary, but the ASPCA says that bed bug pesticides containing pyrethrin are safe for pets so long as they are used correctly.
  3. Send pet food ahead to your destination. To avoid carrying more weight on the road and preventing stomach upset in your pet, order food ahead of time from an online retailer so that your pet’s familiar diet is waiting for you at your destination when you arrive. It’s also a great idea to purchase chew toys from the same online merchant. No matter how confident you are about your pet’s behavior on the road, a strange environment can cause them to behave differently So be prepared by having a few chews sent along with the food.
  4. Limit driver distraction with a pet car restraint. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, driver distraction is an increasing epidemic on America’s roadways. Pets can be a major cause of distraction, making drivers take their eyes, hands, and minds off of the road. One of the best ways to limit driver distraction is to provide car restraints for pets. Use a well-constructed body harness, made specifically for car travel. And if you and your pet are in an accident, the pet harness spreads the crash forces across the dog’s body, protecting both them and you. Kurgo body harnesses are available in sizes XS-XL with prices starting at $23, and the company’s bench covers also keep your car upholstery protected. You could also put up a barrier in your car between the front seats and the back so that your pet cannot continually come up to the front to distract you. There are also a lot of really nice dog car seats available nowadays that often include straps.

Now that you’re all ready, get out there and enjoy your pet friendly vacation!

And don’t forget that Hot Diggity! offers home security check-ins and drop-in visits if you take your dog, but leave the cat at home!

With the summer travel season coming up, one of the peak seasons for travel is also on the horizon. And if you’re getting together with loved ones, these trips can be wonderful occasions to take your most loved ones along with you — your pets! Whether you are headed for the mountains or some fun in the sun, having your best four-legged friend along makes the trip that much more enjoyable. And to make the trip easier too, check out these tips for getting prepared to bring your pet on the road:

  1. Try AAA for pet-friendly planning. When putting together any vacation with animals, check out AAA’s Petbook. Updated annually, the AAA Petbook features more than 14,000 AAA-approved and Diamond-rated hotels, campgrounds, and other attractions that welcome four-footed travelers. The book also provides information about emergency clinics in case you run into medical trouble, and dog parks for those necessary breaks from being cooped up (for humans and pets alike!). The book can be found at participating AAA/CAA club offices, select bookstores, and online booksellers.
  2. Control parasites for your pet’s comfort. No matter where you’re traveling, be wary of fleas, ticks, and other parasites. These pesky pests cause distress in dogs and cats alike — and can be an expensive health hazard to you. Recently, the number of generic, vet-quality flea-and-tick products on the market makes giving your pets protection throughout the year economical and easier to obtain. Always be sure to consult your pet’s vet before using a medication and follow the instructions carefully. Additionally, pet owners who travel with the pooches need to take care that bed bugs that hide in carpets, mattress seams, and headboards aren’t carried home in your dog’s carrier. Check for bedbugs before accepting a hotel room. As a preventative measure there are many bed bug repellents on the market, many rely on plant oils such as rosemary, but the ASPCA says that bed bug pesticides containing pyrethrin are safe for pets so long as they are used correctly.
  3. Send pet food ahead to your destination. To avoid carrying more weight on the road and preventing stomach upset in your pet, order food ahead of time from an online retailer so that your pet’s familiar diet is waiting for you at your destination when you arrive. It’s also a great idea to purchase chew toys from the same online merchant. No matter how confident you are about your pet’s behavior on the road, a strange environment can cause them to behave differently So be prepared by having a few chews sent along with the food.
  4. Limit driver distraction with a pet car restraint. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, driver distraction is an increasing epidemic on America’s roadways. Pets can be a major cause of distraction, making drivers take their eyes, hands, and minds off of the road. One of the best ways to limit driver distraction is to provide car restraints for pets. Use a well-constructed body harness, made specifically for car travel. And if you and your pet are in an accident, the pet harness spreads the crash forces across the dog’s body, protecting both them and you. Kurgo body harnesses are available in sizes XS-XL with prices starting at $23, and the company’s bench covers also keep your car upholstery protected. You could also put up a barrier in your car between the front seats and the back so that your pet cannot continually come up to the front to distract you. There are also a lot of really nice dog car seats available nowadays that often include straps.

Now that you’re all ready, get out there and enjoy your pet friendly vacation!

And don’t forget that Hot Diggity! offers home security check-ins and drop-in visits if you take your dog, but leave the cat at home!

Most of us spend so much of every day managing the various responsibilities of parenthood, holding down a job, keeping our families fed and our relationships happy, that it’s difficult to notice inconsistencies in our pets’ normal behavior. It’s important to pay close attention, however, as changes in behavior often signify an illness. Since animals can’t necessarily voice their complaints to us in an easily understandable way, we have to be proactive as owners to keep an eye on their health. There are countless lists on the internet of “things to watch out for” according to various veterinarians, and it can get a bit overwhelming. So, we’ve compiled our own list of the most oft-recurring points, so you have a basic care manual to refer to in your own home. Prevention is the best medicine, so print this out and keep it on the fridge; pet care is a family affair!

Yearly check ups are crucial!

  • Yearly exams actually save money in the long run because they increase the chance that a serious illness will be caught early on. If something about your pet’s health is abnormal, it will be easier to notice if the vet has a compendium of data reflecting their baseline good health. Differences don’t stand out as clearly without a baseline background.

Pay extra attention to your cat.

  • Cats don’t present symptoms as obviously as other animals, so many vets recommend taking them in for checkups twice a year. Pay attention to behavioural changes in between appointments such as peeing outside the litterbox, not greeting you at the door, weight loss, and lack of appetite.

Exercise and a good diet are crucial.

  • Funny how pet healthcare echoes our own, eh? Don’t overfeed your pet: excessive weight can lead to a variety of problems, even in young animals. If you’re not able to take Buster on a daily walk or run, don’t fret! Hot Diggity! offers high energy runs for dogs that need a little extra oomph in their daily routine. We all need a little extra motivation sometimes!

Don’t neglect dental care!

  • In addition to preventing cavities and extra-icky dog breath, regular appointments can identify receding or abscessed gums and infection which often lead to infections of the heart or kidneys. In short: don’t ever be embarrassed by toothbrush treats for your dog and make sure dental checkups are part of their yearly exam.

Most of us spend so much of every day managing the various responsibilities of parenthood, holding down a job, keeping our families fed and our relationships happy, that it’s difficult to notice inconsistencies in our pets’ normal behavior. It’s important to pay close attention, however, as changes in behavior often signify an illness. Since animals can’t necessarily voice their complaints to us in an easily understandable way, we have to be proactive as owners to keep an eye on their health. There are countless lists on the internet of “things to watch out for” according to various veterinarians, and it can get a bit overwhelming. So, we’ve compiled our own list of the most oft-recurring points, so you have a basic care manual to refer to in your own home. Prevention is the best medicine, so print this out and keep it on the fridge; pet care is a family affair!

Yearly check ups are crucial!

  • Yearly exams actually save money in the long run because they increase the chance that a serious illness will be caught early on. If something about your pet’s health is abnormal, it will be easier to notice if the vet has a compendium of data reflecting their baseline good health. Differences don’t stand out as clearly without a baseline background.

Pay extra attention to your cat.

  • Cats don’t present symptoms as obviously as other animals, so many vets recommend taking them in for checkups twice a year. Pay attention to behavioural changes in between appointments such as peeing outside the litterbox, not greeting you at the door, weight loss, and lack of appetite.

Exercise and a good diet are crucial.

  • Funny how pet healthcare echoes our own, eh? Don’t overfeed your pet: excessive weight can lead to a variety of problems, even in young animals. If you’re not able to take Buster on a daily walk or run, don’t fret! Hot Diggity! offers high energy runs for dogs that need a little extra oomph in their daily routine. We all need a little extra motivation sometimes!

Don’t neglect dental care!

  • In addition to preventing cavities and extra-icky dog breath, regular appointments can identify receding or abscessed gums and infection which often lead to infections of the heart or kidneys. In short: don’t ever be embarrassed by toothbrush treats for your dog and make sure dental checkups are part of their yearly exam.

Growing up, my grandparent’s car was a greater treasure chest than my mom’s kitchen. Why? Packets of gum stashed everywhere. Gum in the glove compartment, gum in the back of the passenger seat, gum in the cupholders, gum gum gum! I’m sure my dog Merry would have thought the same thing. However if they’d lived long enough to meet him and have him in their car, that could have been a potentially deadly treasure trove for him. Why? Because my grandparent’s only ever bought sugar free gum that almost always contained xylitol.

Xylitol is perfectly harmless towards humans and used as an artificial sweetener in a variety of different products including chewing gum and even peanut butter. However it is extremely dangerous for dogs! Xylitol can cause dog’s blood sugar to dramatically decrease, causing potentially fatal hypoglycemia or liver failure. Symptoms of hypoglycemia in dogs include weakness, lethargy, discoordination, vomiting, and potentially seizures. If you notice your dog having these symptoms, especially if you realize they’ve just consumed something with xylitol, you should immediately call your vet (Source: Pet Poison Helpline). There isn’t documented evidence to say one way or the other if xylitol is toxic to cats and other pets as well, but let’s just say sugar free gum ain’t the best way to treat Mr. Whisker’s bad breath anyways.

Since prevention is the best medicine of all, make sure that you aren’t putting your dog into a situation where potentially dangerous treats abound and be aware of the gum that you buy for yourself and making sure that it is in a safe place. Just a few sticks of Orbit sugar free gum could be enough to put your precious pup in danger. Other common sources of xylitol poisoning in dogs include other “sugar free” products such as mints, toothpastes, pudding, and peanut butter. If something says “sugar free” you should check that its ingredients don’t include “xylitol” or “sugar alcohols” which can often be xylitol.

Peanut butter is an especially insidious food to include xylitol because so many of us love using it as an easy treat for our pets or a way to easily get medications down. If you’re giving your dog peanut butter make sure that you check the ingredients of the brand that you’re using. It’s best to use as plain of a peanut butter product as possible anyways because added sugar and salt is also unhealthy for dogs, although it probably won’t kill them quickly like xylitol can. Merry’s favorite brand of peanut butter is Adam’s 100% Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter: Unsalted.

 

More Information:

Snopes: Xylitol Danger

VCA Hospitals: Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

Growing up, my grandparent’s car was a greater treasure chest than my mom’s kitchen. Why? Packets of gum stashed everywhere. Gum in the glove compartment, gum in the back of the passenger seat, gum in the cupholders, gum gum gum! I’m sure my dog Merry would have thought the same thing. However if they’d lived long enough to meet him and have him in their car, that could have been a potentially deadly treasure trove for him. Why? Because my grandparent’s only ever bought sugar free gum that almost always contained xylitol.

Xylitol is perfectly harmless towards humans and used as an artificial sweetener in a variety of different products including chewing gum and even peanut butter. However it is extremely dangerous for dogs! Xylitol can cause dog’s blood sugar to dramatically decrease, causing potentially fatal hypoglycemia or liver failure. Symptoms of hypoglycemia in dogs include weakness, lethargy, discoordination, vomiting, and potentially seizures. If you notice your dog having these symptoms, especially if you realize they’ve just consumed something with xylitol, you should immediately call your vet (Source: Pet Poison Helpline). There isn’t documented evidence to say one way or the other if xylitol is toxic to cats and other pets as well, but let’s just say sugar free gum ain’t the best way to treat Mr. Whisker’s bad breath anyways.

Since prevention is the best medicine of all, make sure that you aren’t putting your dog into a situation where potentially dangerous treats abound and be aware of the gum that you buy for yourself and making sure that it is in a safe place. Just a few sticks of Orbit sugar free gum could be enough to put your precious pup in danger. Other common sources of xylitol poisoning in dogs include other “sugar free” products such as mints, toothpastes, pudding, and peanut butter. If something says “sugar free” you should check that its ingredients don’t include “xylitol” or “sugar alcohols” which can often be xylitol.

Peanut butter is an especially insidious food to include xylitol because so many of us love using it as an easy treat for our pets or a way to easily get medications down. If you’re giving your dog peanut butter make sure that you check the ingredients of the brand that you’re using. It’s best to use as plain of a peanut butter product as possible anyways because added sugar and salt is also unhealthy for dogs, although it probably won’t kill them quickly like xylitol can. Merry’s favorite brand of peanut butter is Adam’s 100% Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter: Unsalted.

 

More Information:

Snopes: Xylitol Danger

VCA Hospitals: Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs