dog walking Archives - Hot Diggity! Dog Walking + Pet Sitting

Every cat and dog owner has a list of go-to items that they would recommend to their fellow fuzzy-loving friends – and this week, two of us – with two pups and four kitties between us – decided to combine efforts to put together five recommended items each based on our experiences raising floofs. While we don’t (necessarily) claim that these items are absolutely required for a better woofer or meower experience overall, we do think that their presence may improve at least a small element of your experience being owned by a cat or dog. 

For Our Kitties 

Corrugated Cardboard Scratchers

Cats have a natural need to exercise their claws; however, many cat towers are quite expensive for an item that will ultimately have a somewhat short life. For a household with multiple cats, corrugated cardboard floor scratchers are an inexpensive way to ensure that cats’ paws get the exercise they need, at an affordable price. Corrugated cardboard pieces are easy to flip over, maximizing their lifespan, and are easy to move in order to clean. Once both sides of a corrugated cardboard scratcher are exhausted, simply order a replacement pack. I highly recommend the extra-wide version of these scratchers, as they have more longevity than regular-sized pieces. 

https://www.chewy.com/fat-cat-big-mamas-cat-scratcher-toy/dp/40040

Sturdy Teaser Toys 

There are so many teaser toys on the market, the process to find the best is a bit overwhelming. Having a household full of cats has given me a little bit of clarity in terms of which toys are the most effective to play with, and the most fun to use. I generally recommend you stay away from teasers that only have feathers at the end – one good play session will usually be all it takes to bring their life to an untimely end. Similarly, teasers with hard toys at the end are a little less recommended – part of the fun for kitties is to be able to dig their claws into the soft toys as they play, and especially if a big human is tossing the toys, hard plastic can make injury more likely! My recommendation is to pick a longer wand with a sturdy stuffed toy at the end, and feathers attached to the stuffed toy, for the best of both worlds.
https://www.chewy.com/pet-fit-life-2-fish-feather-wand-cat/dp/136706

Travel-Ready Shoulder Cat Carrier

After many years of travel with cats using bulky plastic carriers, I made the switch to an easier-to-use shoulder carrier (that has the added benefit of being travel-ready for airport carry-on requirements). In addition to easier transport, these carriers still feature sturdy bases, and can be solidly secured in a vehicle for trips to the vet. Pro-tip: line the carrier with a towel lightly sprayed with Feliway on-the-go to help your kitty reduce stress during travel!

https://www.chewy.com/frisco-basic-dog-cat-carrier-bag/dp/171841

A Well-Designed Play Tunnel 

Play tunnels are an entertaining way to give your kitties a playspace and hideaway, without taking up much space in your home or making a significant cost investment. I suggest investing in a crinkle tunnel, as cats are attracted to this sound, and ensuring that your tunnel is extra-wide for maximum play capabilities as your kitties grow, or if you have a multi-cat household. My personal favorite is the Frisco 47-inch Crinkle Play Tunnel, which features two observation windows, the crinkling sound that kitties love, and a comfortable suede fabric, good for a secluded nap.
https://www.chewy.com/frisco-47-in-foldable-crinkle-play/dp/167104

Safe Hair Tie Toys 

Anyone who has spent much of their life in the company of a cat with a long hair situation knows that even when your home is a vast landscape of cat-specific toys, your hair ties will invariably vanish from wherever you last set them down, only to reappear in a stash under the couch a few months later. However, hair ties themselves are not recommended to be used as toys, as they can be dangerous if accidentally swallowed. However, through rigorous research for a toy that can replace hair ties, I finally stumbled upon an excellent one – the Fat Cat Crazies Playrings Cat Toy, which bounces in entertaining ways during play, and is easy to toss around for fun.  

https://www.chewy.com/fat-cat-crazies-playrings-cat-toy/dp/53473

For Our Pups 

Puzzle Feeders and Treat Dispensers

Puzzle treat dispensers are amazing tools to keep your pup entertained and their brain occupied! Personally, I like to take some yogurt or peanut butter, put it in a kong, and freeze it overnight. Not only is it a nice summer treat, but being frozen keeps your pup occupied for a super long time. Puzzle feeders are amazingly helpful for dogs who gobble their food too fast and make themselves sick. You can even make your own puzzle treat dispenser at home: take a tennis ball and make a 1 to 2 inch slice in it, fill the ball with treats, and that’s it! Endless entertainment for your pup.

Here is a helpful article: https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/the-best-interactive-toys-and-food-puzzles-for-your-dog

Soft Vest Harnesses

Having experience with nearly every harness contraption out there, the soft vest types are my ALL time favorite. They’re super easy to get on, really secure, don’t pull harshly on the dogs neck, and are comfy for the doggos too! The “Plush” brand ones are my favorite – while not available online they’re usually at your local boutique dog store. But Puppia makes good ones too, that are more widely available:

https://www.chewy.com/puppia-soft-vest-dog-harness/dp/132260

Dog Beds for the Car

Bolster seats are great for tiny dogs, and keeps them safely in place instead of running all over your car! But for larger dogs, a bed that simply stays securely and safely in place can be incredibly helpful. One of our pups is an anxious boy in the car, and without a secure place to lay down he can get incredibly stressed out. We’ve tried simply laying a dog bed on the seat, but it slips around and makes things worse. His personal favorite is this PetSafe Happy Ride Car Dog Bed:

https://store.petsafe.net/happy-ride-car-dog-bed-bucket-seat

Pet Hair Removal Rollers 

I am obsessed with these “ChomChom” hair removers! They work like MAGIC to remove hair from any fabric, even those pesky embedded short hairs. They’re much more environmentally friendly and work better then sticky rollers, too. I’ve had mine for 2 years, between 2 fluffy dogs and a wildly furry cat, and it’s still going strong!

https://www.chewy.com/chomchom-roller-pet-hair-remover/dp/163270

Hide and Seek Toys

Whether young or old, all pups need mental stimulation! Both of my dogs are 13yrs old and they aren’t able to exercise as much, these kinds of toys have been invaluable. Plus, even if your pup destroys the “large” part of the toy, the mini toys are great for playing fetch! 

https://www.chewy.com/frisco-hide-seek-plush-volcano-puzzle/dp/179588

Saturday, May 11, is National Dog Mom Day. Founded in 2018 by Dig, a dating app specifically designed to connect matches who love dogs, and intentionally placed right before Mother’s Day, it is a day to celebrate the special bond between women and their precious pups. Here are some special ways you can celebrate this day with Fido, even if you’re currently quarantined and can’t stray too far from home!

“Picnic in the Park” 

Pack a picnic that both you and your pup can enjoy together, and spend time together in a local park! There are a variety of recipes that both you and your pup can enjoy for a sense of camaraderie and togetherness. Some fun ideas:

  • Sweet potato jerky: simple and easy, and nutritious for humans and pups alike! Simply cut ½ inch strips, line on a parchment sheet, and bake in oven preheated to 225 for 3-4 hours or until desired tenderness is achieved. Store in airtight container for 2-3 weeks if tender, and up to 3 months if crisp! 
  • Pupsicles: puree berries and banana in a blender (add some peanut butter if desired), place into an ice cube tray, and freeze. For an easy-to-eat human version, you may add a toothpick to create a mini-popsicle!
  • Pasta Marinara: while we don’t recommend rich sauces for your pup, a little rice or pasta (preferably whole grain) is perfectly fine! Pasta tossed in a healthful, whole-ingredient tomato sauce provides both you and your pup with vitamin C and deliciousness to boot! 
  • Roasted butternut squash: easy peasy! Just cut butternut squash into 1” chunks, toss with a little olive oil, kosher salt, and a dash of pepper, place on a sheet pan, and roast for 25 minutes at 400 degrees or until the squash is tender, turning once with a spatula.
  • Salmon cakes: Take one 6 oz can salmon, ½ cup bread crumbs, and gently mix together. Mix in one beaten egg, ¼ cup bell pepper, and a tsp. of fresh dill. Form into patties. Heat in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown, 3-4 minutes on each side.

You’ve got yourself a lunch to share with your pup! 

Pedicure Party with Penny! 

There are a variety of pup-safe nail polishes on the market! Not only will your pup look absolutely adorable, but you can use these polishes on yourself as well. Of course, don’t forget to do a doggie photo shoot with your favorite friend to show off your new look! 

Here are some products that we recommend: 

  • Warren London Pedicure Polish Pen: Simple and easy to use, with a wide variety of bright colors, this pen works on pup and human nails, and dries in less than forty seconds, making it a good choice for even more impatient pups! Review summary: reviewers recommend the bright pink and bright purple as their favorites! 
  • Color Paw Fast-Drying Premium Nail Polish: This polish comes in a traditional nail polish bottle, offers full coverage, and dries within about 30 seconds – and is easy to use for humans as well! Review Summary: Most people recommend two coats, highly prefer the baby blue, and report that the polish stays on for 2+ weeks! 

A Stroll in a Stroller

Dogs who are older, or who struggle with mobility issues, still need time in the fresh air for optimal health. If you have an older pup, or a pup with mobility issues, who misses the days when they were able to run unencumbered by the limitations of age or illness, or even if you are just looking to get in shape without exhausting your puppy, consider purchasing a quality stroller to maximize both your pup’s time outdoors and time spent with your aging pup. 

In addition to providing your pup, who may otherwise be limited on their outdoor experience, essential time in fresh air, using a stroller over a pet carrier means that you can go for a lengthy run and give your pup a break when they get tired, give your back and shoulders a break if you’re headed to the vet, and provide your pup a safe space if you take them to the office or an event where their anxiety may otherwise be elevated. Even if your pup does not struggle with mobility, a stroller can provide your pup with a safe environment to nap if you’re heading to a dog-friendly restaurant with friends, or if you’re outdoors on a hot day where the ground can become too much for his delicate feet! Just pack your pup’s stroller with his favorite toys or a cuddly blanket, and head out without worry! 

Luckily, there are several companies that have taken your pup’s limitations into consideration and created strollers specifically designed to allow your pup to enjoy the great outdoors without tiring him out!

Our favorite all-purpose stroller is the Dogger Stroller. With 12” air-filled tires, this stroller can navigate any terrain, and has an extra-high basket which allows your pup to get a better view of their surroundings. Featuring hundreds of 5-star reviews, this stroller is a bit of an investment at $269.95, but is well worth the cost! 

If you’re looking for something a little simpler, the Pet Gear Ultra Light Travel Stroller is a good starter stroller for your pup. Easily collapsible for travel, featuring over 1000 promising reviews, and only $39.99, this is a good choice for folks whose wallets are not quite ready for a larger investment, but who still want the opportunity to meander in the sunshine with their more delicate pups. 

Cute Dinner Date!

While Oregon is currently under a stay-at-home order, restaurant openings are just around the corner! Thankfully, Portland has many restaurants with patios that are more than happy to accommodate you and your favorite date!

If you and your pup are fans of sports, The Bucket Brigade Sports Bar has a large enclosed dog-friendly patio where you can kick back with a beer while your pup runs around with his friends! The stone walls surrounding the patio are high, making it safe for even the largest dog to safely play! And if it’s a cold or rainy day, the patio has a covered section with heaters to keep you and Fido nice and toasty!

If coffee is your beverage of choice, and you enjoy a good happy hour with your furry friend, visit the Java Hound Coffee Bar in NW Portland. In addition to offering local teas, coffees, and pastries, and a special goat-milk puppacino topped with doggy treats, the third Thursday of every month features a pup-friendly happy hour from 5-7 p.m., where you and your pup can try human and pup-friendly beer and wine. 

Featuring all-day happy hour every Monday, and dog friendly front and back patios, The Rambler Bar has delicious hearty fare such as turkey pot pie dumplings and a brisket french dip, features a wide variety of unique cocktails (and mocktails!), and is open late into the night on weekdays and weekends alike. 

Looking for some extra-fancy vegan or gluten free fare to share with your pup? Victoria Bar features an elegant setting, complex and delicious cocktails (notably named with many Princess Bride references!), and a sunny patio for you to relax with an array of small plates easily customizable to any dietary requirements. Pro-tip: the buffalo cauliflower can satisfy even the most voracious meat eater! 

If you’d like a little menu for your pup in addition to some tasty fare for yourself, Portland’s staple breakfast joint, The Tin Shed, has a responsibly-sourced and frequently local menu to accommodate most palates, and even has a little doggy menu so that Fido can feel just as included! House-made peanut butter banana ice cream with a dog biscuit, anyone? 

If you’re looking for a friendly place that can accommodate all dietary requirements, and is welcoming to both human and pup children, look no further than Pizza Jerk. Simple checkered tablecloths and a patio with lots of umbrellas make this location a fun go-to for the whole family! On a hot summer day, you can also enjoy an adult slushie to keep you cool as you munch away on your slice of vegan sausage pizza!

Even if you’re living in Beaverton, you can still enjoy some time on a friendly patio with your pup. The Fireside Grill has a large friendly dog patio and features a large menu with American fare, including burgers, sandwiches, and several cuts of steak – and it does have a couple vegan options for your plant-based friends! 

Support Shelters with Wine

If you’re looking for a simple way to support your community shelters, consider buying a bottle of wine from a company whose proceeds go towards such support! Rescue Dog Wine features red and white wines galore, as well as several club options for various budgets, including a once-a-year holiday wine club which ships twelve bottles directly to your door during the holiday season. Prices per bottle range from $18.99 to $39.00, and 50% of your purchase goes to rescue dog and charitable organizations and supporting dog foster parents. Employees for Rescue Dog Wine also regularly volunteer their time to pups in need! 

Chateau La Paws rotates affordable, easy drinking wines for all palates, with proceeds going to no-kill shelters and individual bottles featuring previously sponsored pups with happy adoption endings! This wine company has donated over $100,000 to North Shore Animal League America, which is involved in everything from elevating the status of mixed-breed pups, to supporting foster and adoption programs throughout the U.S. At $14 per bottle, these wines accommodate most wallets!

Simple and Snuggly 

There are many other simple ways that you can celebrate this day with your best pal. Snuggle up on the couch with a blanket for you and Rover to marathon a favorite show (or a David Attenborough nature special!), and take the opportunity to pamper yourself with a face mask or other mini-spa experience. If you’re feeling photogenic after a little self-pampering, set a timer on your phone and have a mini photoshoot with your pup – and finish the day with a living room campout!

If you wouldn’t mind being featured in one of our social media campaigns, please don’t hesitate to send us an email at info@hotdiggitypetsitting.com and let us know how you’re celebrating National Dog Mom Day! We’d love to feature you and your pup in a celebratory post down the line!

April 30th was National Shelter Pets Day, and in honor of this holiday, we wanted to list some of the many reasons why choosing to adopt rather than purchase an animal is a choice more kind to your heart, your community, and your wallet.

You Are Saving Multiple Lives

You are giving an animal, who may have come from a situation of neglect or cruelty, or who may simply have been abandoned when its owners became incapable of caring for it, another chance at life in a happy home. 

Additionally, as animal overpopulation has led to the euthanization of millions of healthy animals each year, your adoption also opens a shelter bed for another animal, who will now have the same opportunity as your new companion.

You Can Improve Your Health

Dozens of studies have demonstrated that pet ownership contributes to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, lowers muscle tension, and has a myriad of positive effects on one’s mental health. 

A 2015 study by the CDC found that children who were raised with pet dogs had significantly lower rates of childhood anxiety, and a 2014 study on community-dwelling elderly people determined that caring for a pet improved cognitive function and feelings of isolation and depression.

You Are Helping to Abolish Puppy Mills

Commercial breeding facilities are legal in most states, and are inherently designed to maximize profit over animal health and welfare. Approximately 10,000 puppy mills are currently operating in the U.S., and only approximately 3,000 have any regulation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

In these facilities, animals typically have no access to veterinary care or protection from extreme weather; female dogs are bred continuously, without adequate recovery time, and often killed when they can no longer reproduce; animals frequently struggle with health problems, including bleeding or swollen paws, severe tooth decay, ear infections, dehydration, and lesions on their eyes, which often lead to blindness.

Each year, over 2 million puppy mill puppies are sold to often unsuspecting owners, encouraging the ongoing operation of mills, while over 3 million dogs are killed in shelters. By choosing to adopt, you are also helping to discourage ongoing operation of these substandard facilities, which will improve the lives of many animals over time.

Choosing a Breed is Not Impossible!

Many people choose to buy because they think they won’t be able to find the breed they’re looking for in a shelter pet – and this is not true! Shelters frequently have specific breeds that have been surrendered due to lack of original owner preparedness – and there are even many breed-specific rescue organizations throughout the country. PetFinder and Dogster both have handy search tools for breed-specific rescues. 

While you wait, you may always volunteer your time as a foster parent to a pet in need. By fostering, you will meet pets of various breeds, and your rescue may acquire a breed you’re looking for in the meanwhile. Or, you may find that breed is less relevant than personality and end up with a completely unexpected family member!

You Are Saving Significant Money for Your Pet’s Startup Costs

Your pet’s initial exam, flea/heartworm treatment, vaccinations, microchipping & registration, and spay/neuter surgery can run upwards of $1000 out of pocket. On the other hand, your shelter pet will come health checked, with current vaccinations, and usually already spayed or neutered – ready to settle in at home with you without an immediate need for medical care! 

Frequently, shelters also develop partnerships with select local veterinarians that will allow you to acquire reduced-cost services for the duration of your pet’s life.

Your Pet’s Personality May Already Be Known

Many shelter pets spend some time in foster homes where they are prepared for adoption. Foster parents take the time to get to know their pets’ personalities and prepare them for adoption – so you have a much better chance of knowing what your new friend is like – their likes and dislikes, favorite things, and so much more!

Older Pets Can Be Easier to Adopt

If you’ve ever raised a puppy, kitten, or other young animal, you know that they require a lot of additional time to raise! Puppies need to be potty-trained and may have accidents as they grow; kittens are bundles of energy that will tear through your house at ten million miles an hour, knocking everything down as they go! You have to take the time to teach your new fur baby how to walk, what not to scratch or eat, and so much more.

Adopting an older pet from a shelter means that not only will their personalities be more developed, but they will also be calmer, and likely already arrive potty trained. Plus, you can leave an older pet alone a little longer than a young animal, which may be more suited to someone with a busy career.

Steps to take if your dog goes missing & preventative tips to keep your pups safe

April 23rd is National Lost Dog Awareness Day, and here at Hot Diggity, we know just how much your dog means to you. In honor of this day, we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to get your best friend home safe as quickly as possible should they ever become lost, as well as a few preventative measures you may take to avoid this heart-wrenching experience to begin with!

Prevention before panic!

In a perfect world, you’d never have to experience the panic of losing your dog to begin with. Thankfully there are steps we can take to protect our pups and prevent our potential heartache!

Spay & neuter your pets

Spaying and neutering has a plethora of benefits. Not only will you be helping to reduce pet homelessness, studies have shown that neutering will decrease sexual roaming in about 90 percent of cases! The sooner you spay or neuter your pup, the better – intact males may continue to roam after being neutered if they have established a prior pattern.

Pet-proof your home & yard

Outside, ensure that your fence is secure and there are no gaps that your dog can squeeze through. Fluffy dogs can be surprisingly small underneath all that floof – make sure there is nowhere they could wiggle through. However, even with a secure fence, it’s best to never leave your dog unsupervised. Dogs can frequently find a way to dig their way out even if security measures are taken – or they could eat something that could be potentially dangerous.

If your dog has a tendency to door dash when indoors, you can install baby gates to block them from bolting to the door when people are coming and going. Make sure to let people know that you have a pet before they arrive to your home and communicate with them how best to enter and exit without your pooch escaping.

Leash up your pup 

Keep your dog leashed when outside – even the most well behaved dog may get startled or decide to chase something unexpectedly.

Identification 

All of your pets should have identification that includes your contact information. A tag on their collar with your address or phone number works well, but microchipping is the ideal choice, because tags can be ripped off or become worn to the point of being illegible. Animal shelters and veterinary offices can scan microchips to get your pet’s ID and contact you immediately. 

If your pet is already microchipped, please be sure your microchip data is current. For example – did you change your phone number from the date of your pets’ chip implant? Move to a different address? Do you know where your pet is registered? Are they registered? Do you have to pay an annual fee to remain registered? 

Most microchip companies have an online system where you can update your contact information, and most veterinarians don’t update microchip information. Take the time to find out this information now and not when you’re in search mode – in an unexpected circumstance, it could save the day!

Get your pup a license!

Did you know most counties require your pup to be licensed? Many veterinarians also sell licenses for the convenience of their clients when your dog gets their rabies shot – ask your local veterinarian! Once you have one, make sure it’s kept current (typically, there is a yearly fee associated with them). The main benefit is that if an Animal Services Officer finds your dog loose and your dog is wearing his license tag, they can often return your dog directly to you without your pup ever going to the shelter. It will also save you money! Impound fees for a licensed dog are typically much lower than an unlicensed dog.

Addressing behavioral & emotional issues

Even the most well-behaved dogs may try to escape if they’re scared enough. This problem is especially common during summer thunderstorms or fireworks. These loud booms can send even mild-mannered dogs into a frenzy. In a desperate attempt to escape the terrifying sounds, dogs may leap through windows, bust through screen doors, or even scale high fences. Securing your dog during thunderstorms and fireworks will help keep her safe. We recommend soothing your pup’s fears of loud noises with calming treats, white noise, or calming shirts.

Maybe your dog is running away just because they’re bored? If you’re not providing your dog with something to do, there’s a good chance he’ll come up with his own ideas. In many cases, this means he’ll take himself on an adventure! Solve this by supervising your dog, giving him proper exercise, mental stimulation, and of course plenty of love!

So your pup is lost, what now?

Even with proper prevention, animals can go missing. While panicking is inevitable (this is your best friend after all), take heart in knowing the vast majority of lost pets come home! An ASPCA survey found that 74 percent of lost cats and 93 percent of lost dogs were recovered.

Beginning the search

Start your search right away! Search nearby by car and foot first to see if you can spot your dog before he gets too far. Call your pet’s name in a happy tone, shake a box of treats, or squeak their favorite toy. Ask neighbors, delivery workers, and letter carriers if they have seen your pet. Generally, dogs are found within a two-mile radius of their home. Remember, you know your dog best! Outgoing dogs may seek out other dogs and friendly humans likely to comfort, feed, and shelter them. Search neighbors’ yards and public spaces where your dog may like to roam. Dogs that are shy, older, or untrusting of strangers may hide in places like bushes or under cars.

Spam social media

Post a lost-pet notice on your Facebook page and ask friends to share! Then post on local lost pet Facebook pages, and sites like Craigslist and Nextdoor. Facebook groups for lost pets tend to be extremely friendly and helpful – may of them have moderators passionate about reuniting people and their pets and will offer to help you search in person or begin searching known online databases for found dogs that match your pups description.

Contact your local animal shelters & animal control

Checking with your local shelters and animal control is critical, as that’s most likely the first place someone who has found your dog will go. Going to the shelter in-person is best, as no one knows your pet better than you do! Many shelters have a holding period of less than a week so it’s crucial to check if your pet is there daily. Be sure to contact animal control agencies and file a report at shelters within a 50-mile radius of your home. Don’t trust the shelter to call you if an animal comes in that looks like your lost pet; they are extremely busy, and you wouldn’t want to chance them missing the connection.

Scour the internet

There are many online databases that you can use to post lost and found pets. PawBoost, Fido Finder, and Finding Rover are popular ones. Be sure not to restrict your searches to a specific breed, as others may describe your pet differently.

Flyers, flyers, flyers!

Post flyers in your neighborhood and public places like grocery stores, veterinary offices, and traffic intersections. Describe your pet by age, sex, weight, breed, and color – adding a photo if possible. Be sure to include your contact information, when & where the dog went missing, and what you want people to do if they see your dog (call you, try to catch him, etc.) Consider using neon posters instead of standard paper which can be easily overlooked.

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!

We can hardly believe Hot Diggity! started in Portland 18 years ago to fill the gaps for pet owners who wanted walkers more reliable than the kid next door, and sitters that could offer in-home care for sensitive pets. Professional “best friends” were in demand and life-long Portlander Hunter Sunrise saw an opportunity to serve his hometown.

We’ ve grown over the next 18 years to our current count of 130 go-to pet care providers, covering Portland, Vancouver and Seattle. All are experienced animal lovers first and foremost, fully vetted by are awesome administrative team, and active community members outside of work.

“We’ve been around the block a few times in the last two decades and there’s nothing your pet can throw at us (figuratively or literally) that we haven’t handled before.” – Hunter Sunrise, Founder and Owner

Still active in the day to day run of show, Hunter makes sure the business stays true to its core values of kindness, dependability, honesty, love and care for your furry friends.

Reach out today if you’re interested in dog walks, in-home pet sitting, group or solo hikes and more! 

Pets add so much joy to our lives and we want to reciprocate this unconditional love, however, daily responsibilities like work and school often mean that we can’t spend as much time with Buster as we’d like.

It’s hard to come home tired after a long day and work up the energy to take your energetic pup out for the exercise they need. Don’t sweat it – we’re here to support pet lovers so no one needs to forego pet parenthood because of work, family, travel or educational pursuits.

One of the most important ways we support pet lovers is with daily dog walks, which help reduce stress for both you and your pup; you don’t worry when you’re home late and Buster doesn’t become anxious, depressed, or unhealthy.

Healthy

With diabetes and obesity becoming increasingly common among dogs, daily exercise is a great preventative approach to keeping Buster healthy, happy, and agile for years to come. The amount of exercise needed varies by breed between 30 minutes to two hours per day and vets agree that regular walks promote digestive health, keep aging dogs limber, relieve joint pain, maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, high-blood pressure and diabetes.

Happy

Walks also support emotional well-being, maintain routine and reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and other emotional and behavioral issues by allowing your pet to get exercise, explore, and enjoy company and love during the day. Dogs build up a lot of restless energy during the day and often have a hard time finding productive, nondestructive ways to keep themselves entertained. Release that energy in a healthy way by going on a midday walk instead of turning to shoes or couch cushions for entertainment.

Social

In addition to being a great form of exercise, walking can be an exciting part of your dog’s day. Daily walks help with socialization, allowing pups to explore new scents and sights in addition to meeting other dogs and humans. Walks are also a great way to practice walking on a leash and reinforcing training, reducing aggression and anxiety in the future.

Whether your 15-year old bulldog wants a slow 30-minute saunter around the neighborhood or your Shepherd puppy needs a two-hour forest pack hike to be worn out, our award-winning team is here to help you create the perfect walking experience for your family.

Get in touch to schedule weekly walks or talk to our admin team about your favorite four-legged walker or hiker.