Guest Post Archives - Hot Diggity! Pet Sitting

Hello and welcome, dog lovers! The benefits of having a dog as a pet are undeniable – the walks out in the open and the unmistakable loyalty of this animal being the highlight among them. There are, however, some downsides. A major one is the struggle to keep your house clean. This is an issue with many pets, but especially dogs, and it’s even worse if you live in an apartment.

It’s happened to all of us. Everybody who comes to visit is covered in dog hair when they leave. You are always using lint rollers on you and your loved ones’ clothes.
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have dogs and a clean home! Yes, there is hope! Here are some tips from professional pet keepers (it’s actually a job, and, yes, a full-time one)!

  1. Make Baths Fun: Regular baths are most crucial step to keeping your dog and house smelling fresh. Make bathing fun by playing relaxing music. Put a non-slip mat in the tub to make your dog feel safer. Run lukewarm or cool water to avoid drying its fur, use only special shampoo for dogs, and offer plenty of treats and praise. Dry the dog thoroughly with a towel, then let it shake the water off as long as it needs to. Dogs appreciate routine, so make bathing consistent and predictable. But there can be too much of a good thing. Excessive bathing can strip essential oils and dry the skin, especially when the weather is cold. Most dogs only need baths once every two months or when they start smelling really bad.
  2. Wipe Your Dog Down: Use specially formulated pet wipes or a damp towel between baths to remove loose dirt and keep your dog and house from smelling like an animal. Brush the dog often – on a regular basis, even daily if its coat is thick or long. This reduces shedding and keeps your dog’s coat and skin healthy by distributing essential oils.
  3. Choose Fabrics Carefully: When choosing fabrics, sheets, upholstery and furniture, opt for materials like microfiber or leather, which are easy to wipe down and clean. Fabrics need to be cleaned at least once a week. What is more, we highly recommend washing your sheets and blankets regularly, and, of course, those of your dog. Dog beds and blankets attracts all sorts of unpleasant odors like a magnet. Make sure you toss them in the weekly wash.
  4. Vacuum Your Furniture Weekly: It often pays off to buy the right tools when it comes to cleaning your home. We suggest buying tools like vacuum cleaners and spot removers that are specially designed to clean up after pets. Make sure you vacuum your furniture weekly to cut down on the lint rollers you are probably chasing everyone in your family and your guests around with. Go in way deep to reach all those hard-to-access spots under the couch and behind cushions.
  5. Clutter Control: If your dog has a lot of toys, keep your home looking neat by putting them away in some baskets in different areas of your home. Check toys regularly for wear and tear, and update your dog’s collection now and then. If it doesn’t play with some of its toys, and they are barely used, clean them and donate them to your local animal shelter.
  6. Keep Dirt Outside: How do you keep dirt from getting inside? If your yard gets muddy, hang an old towel near the front door, and wipe your dog’s feet before it comes in. Strategically placed runners also catch dirt that can be shaken out or vacuumed up a few times a week. These are great for your dog’s paw health as well.
    Get Help: While this option isn’t financially feasible for everyone, even a once-a-month visit from a housekeeper can help limit dog dirt, fur and dander.

And if you’d like to read some tips about how to groom your cat, check out our blog post on Comfortable Nail Trimming for Nervous Cats!

This guest post was written by Isaac Atia, Head Editor at 10BestRanked.com, where he reviews top home and outdoors products and gadgets. Read his latest post Best Vacuum for Pet Hair 2018 – Top Reviews & Buyer’s Guide.

 

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??

Portland Dog Walker and Pet Sitter WhitneyHello 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.