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

1. Break the Habit and Stick to the New Rule

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

2. Training and Treats Go a Long Way

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

3. Make Sure Your Dog Loves Their Bed

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

4. Provide Their Own Sofa

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

5. Don’t Punish the Pooch

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

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

 

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

Summer is officially here and plants are on our minds!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

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

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

 

African Violets (Saintpaulia)

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

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

 

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata bostoniensis)

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

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

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

 

Palms (Chamaedora)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

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