pets Archives - Hot Diggity! Pet Sitting

Whether you’re a pet owner, one of our amazing pet sitters, or someone who just loves being around animals, volunteering your time to help pet rescue and aid organizations is a great way to make a positive impact in your community while helping animals in need. Here at Hot Diggity! we have many favorite PDX metro area pet non-profits. They do a lot of hard work caring for pets in-need and offer a helping hand in various forms. We’ve put together this list in hopes you find an opportunity that will fit you perfectly!

  • Do you like walking dogs and showing them love? Organizations such as the Pixie Project are often looking for dog walkers to help their pups get in all their exercise and socialization time. If you enjoy being up early and have free time in your mornings you might also be perfectly suited to volunteering as a kennel helper. Kennel volunteers help give dogs potty breaks in addition to helping make treats and keeping the dogs’ temporary homes clean. Family Dogs New Life Shelter, Animal Aid, and the Oregon Humane Society have a need for these volunteers. Your local county shelter such as the Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter in Washington County or Multnomah County Animal Services likely also offer similar opportunities.
  • A cat sits happily on a couch, probably thinking about the Hot Diggity! cat sitter they love so muchDo you love spending time with cats? Cats also need quality socialization time and help keeping their temporary homes clean–duties can include grooming or help with feeding. Cats have a difficult time transitioning from shelter life to a new home, and may have spent a large portion of their lives without much human affection. Volunteering your time to socialize them and show them love can greatly increase their chances of ha
  • ving an easier adjustment to their new home. The Pixie Project offers cat socialization volunteer opportunities as do Animal Aid*, the Oregon Humane Society, MultiCo Pets, and the Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter.
    • *If you love animals but have a difficult time seeing them in kennels and cages even at a shelter, Animal Aid might provide the best alternative to that model for you. Almost all of their cats at their shelter are homed in a group setting with lots of comfy chairs and cat palaces where they like to nap and play freely. It’s a very comfortable place for the cats and has a much more relaxed atmosphere than most shelters are able to offer.
  • Do you have a heart of gold and a home in need of a pet? If you have extra room in your home (and a safe backyard with a fence, even better!), almost every organization is in need of foster homes for pets. This is the best way for organizations and volunteers to really get to know the pets that come to them in need of new homes and acclimate them to home life before finding their furever homes. Many animals rescued by these organizations come from states without great resources and have lived for years in either abusive situations or shelter kennels. Through fostering, these pets can relax, learn what it’s like to have a lap all to themselves, and adjust to a home life more easily, lessening the risk of being returned to the rescue organization. There are foster opportunities available from Deaf Dogs of Oregon, the Pixie ProjectFamily Dogs New Life Shelter, Animal Aid, One Tail at a Time, Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals, the Oregon Humane Society, as well as at the Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter, MultiCo Pets Shelter, and many more.
  • Do you have a car? Consider volunteering to provide pet transportation! That’s what we do! Since 2017, Hot Diggity! has partnered with The PAW Team to provide them with our Pet Taxi services when they’re unable to find volunteers. We help transport pets from low-income families who don’t have transportation on their own to get them to clinics for surgeries and then back home again. You can do it too! The PAW Team is an excellent place to volunteer this service to, or other organizations often need help transporting animals to and from adoption events or to pick up donations. Besides the PAW Team, there are transportation volunteer opportunities through the Pixie Project, Project POOCH, and One Tail at a Time.
  • A cute pug stares at the camera, probably enjoying the day with its Portland dog walkerAre you good at photography? The first impression potential adopters have of their soon-to-be new pet is usually a picture of them. Good pictures of pets greatly increase the chances that they’ll find a home, so shelters and rescue organizations are often looking for photographers to help make their in need pets give the best first impression possible! Even non-rescue organizations such as the PAW Team are in need of photography volunteers who can help share the stories of their clients in the best possible light too. Other organizations looking for photography volunteers include Animal Aid, and it’s likely that other organizations that don’t advertise such a position specifically would also appreciate the offer of a photoshoot.
  • Do you love social media or are you into marketing? This is also an in-need skill set at many pet rescue organizations. Social media and other forms of marketing are key to getting the message out about donation drives, available pets, or fundraising events. This is also a great way to volunteer for someone who loves pets, but might actually be allergic to them. Project POOCH, Animal Aid, and One Tail at a Time are some of the organizations that would appreciate the help in spreading the word about their causes.
  • Do you have veterinary credentials? The PAW Team is always looking for more people to help out at their clinics where they provide veterinary care for low income families with pets.
  • There are many more opportunities! Organizations such as the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, the PAW Team, Project POOCH, Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals, Animal Aid, Born Again Pit Bull Rescue, One Tail at a Time, and the Oregon Humane Society as well as your local shelters all have volunteer opportunities for people who want to help out at major events or help with other work such as animal intake, client intake, other office work, interviewing/storytelling, distributing supplies, building and landscape maintenance, animal training, grooming, and so much more! Really, there is something for everyone.

A kitten and a puppy snuggle together, definitely in love with their Hot Diggity! pet sitterBefore you do volunteer however, there are some important considerations you should think about before submitting your application or ask about opportunities available.

  • For many of these positions, some training is required. This takes time and money on the part of the shelter organization, so you should be prepared to make at least a 3 month or longer commitment. Be sure to read an organization’s volunteering requirements carefully.
  • There are different age requirements at different organizations. Some organizations require that volunteers be at least 16 years old, while others allow younger volunteers with adult supervision, and some organizations require that volunteers be at least 21 years old. Check with the organization for their specific requirements.
  • Remember that sometimes you might be around ill animals with communicable diseases. You should carefully wash your hands when you go to a shelter, and wash when leaving, especially if you have pets at home. That might not be quite enough though, so make sure your pets are vaccinated against diseases and pests that you might accidentally take home with you.
  • A cat lays it's paw on a human hand, probably their favorite cat sitter from Hot Diggity!Make sure to keep up your self-care. Volunteering with animal rescue organizations can be very rewarding work, but it can also be exhausting work, both physically and emotionally. Keep hydrated, listen to your emotions and body, don’t overextend yourself, and keep in touch with your support network. This is just good practice for life even if you’re not volunteering, but it can also be important to avoid burnout.

And especially remember to always have fun!

Many of these opportunities can also provide you with professional experience, professional references for young job hunters, emotional comfort for someone who can’t have pets themselves, an opportunity to socialize with other human pet lovers, new friends, as well as good ole’ fresh air and exercise. But spending time with animals is always a great reward in itself, and seeing shy shelter pets become loving and happy pets with loving homes is one of the greatest rewards in the world.

Have you ever walked or driven down the street and noticed a stray dog nearby? We have too, so we put together this guide so you can help reunite a lost pup with their family.

Here are 14 tips to help ensure a happy ending:

  1. Assess the safety of the situation. You don’t know the medical history of the pet or how fearful they are of people or other animals, so be very cautious to watch their behavior to  avoid spooking them or getting nipped yourself. If the situation is an emergency, call 911. If it’s not quite an emergency, but you’re unable to help the dog, call your local county animal control services. For county resources, see below.
  2. If the situation does seem safe enough to proceed, be sure neither of you are in a position where trying to catch them will put either of you at risk of getting hit by a car. If you discovered the lost pet while driving, make sure you’re parked safely and legally.
  3. If they’re not dragging a leash, it’s a good idea to have a spare leash handy so that you can lead them away safely. If you’re with your own dog, don’t remove their leash to use for the strange dog. You don’t want to put your dog at risk of running away or getting hit by a car either.
  4. Dogs will read your body language so try not to act scared or surprised at seeing them. They’re likely already afraid and you acting strange compared to how anyone normally behaves around them will likely make them even more fearful and distrustful of you.
  5. Sometimes if you act excited to see them (as if you’d seen them while they were on leash with their owner) then they’ll respond positively. Smile, use a happy voice, act as if you’re happy to see them. Lots of dogs find car rides really exciting and may even jump in your car easily if you hold the door open like you’re about to take them to the dog park.
  6. If you can catch them, make sure to first check for a collar and any information on it. Oftentimes dogs have just escaped from their backyards nearby. If they still have a collar on, there is likely a phone number or an address.
  7. If there is no identification on them or you found them far away from any residential dwellings, a vet might be able to scan for a microchip and provide contact information.
  8. If the dog is injured or ill, DoveLewis will not turn them away. Once they are well enough to go to a shelter (usually within 24 hours of arriving at DoveLewis) they will be transferred to the local shelter.
  9. But first, stay in the area for a little while (if it’s safe for you and the dog) and keep an ear out for owners in your area who might be yelling for their lost pet. If you’re in a neighborhood you might try walking the dog around a bit to see if they get particularly excited toward any specific homes.
  10. Check the LOST pet sections of Craigslist as well as your local animal services agency and then check again in a few hours or the next day if you still can’t find the owner. Below we’ll include a few local Portland lost dog resources.
  11. Make a post on Craigslist, but be wary and ask for pictures from the owner to confirm that the dog is theirs. Unfortunately there are less than honest and potentially even dangerous people on Craigslist who try to sell lost pets or use them for other purposes.
  12. Make posts on social media and community sites. If you found the dog in a Portland area dog park or hiking area, you might want to check the Hiking with Dogs in Portland Facebook Group where owners who lose dogs will often make posts. Nextdoor, Rooster,  and a public Facebook post might also be helpful in getting the word out, but again be wary of people trying to scam you.
  13. And of course, post FOUND posters around the neighborhood where you found the lost pet: on post boxes, light poles, and community message boards.
  14. Finally, if you can’t keep the dog while waiting to find its owner, find a local non-kill shelter or rescue organization. However, beware that many shelters have a fairly short period of time where if they can’t locate an owner they will claim ownership of the dog and adopt it out to a new family. This has caused several heartbreaking situations when there were extenuating circumstances such as the owner was out of town when their pet was lost and then adopted to a new family. Check with shelters and rescues about their policies if you have concerns about this.

Here are some additional local PDX resources for lost pets:

  • Craigslist Portland has both a Lost and Found section where people often post lost or found pets and a Pets section where those listings are also common.
  • Willamette Week has a Lost and Found Pet section as well.
  • Washington County Animal Services: Note that pets without identification will only be held for 3 business days before being put up for adoption. For pets with identification, they will only be held for up to 7 business days before being put up for adoption.
  • Multnomah County Animal Services: Note that pets without identification here will also only be held for 3 business days before being put up for adoption and pets with identification will only be held for up to 5 business days before being put up for adoption.
  • Clackamas County Animal Services: Note that pets without identification here will only be held for 3 business days before being put up for adoption, although they do not say how long pets with identification will be held, it is still not likely to be any longer than Multnomah or Washington counties.
  • All the Animal Services pages have additional resource suggestions, especially for counties outside of these three.
  • You can check our Community Partners page to see more local vets and rescue organizations that might be able to help out too.

And of course, please let this serve as an important reminder to always keep your pets tagged and microchipped with up to date information. If the worst happens, these can be the most helpful tools in reuniting with your pet!

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

The Importance of Exercise

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

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

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

Check for Separation Anxiety

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

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

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

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

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

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

Spraying Furniture as a Deterrent

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

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

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

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

There’s something inherently beautiful about stepping on untouched snow, snow that no one else has walked on. However, before your dog steps out on the snow and makes little paw prints in the white fluff, be sure that he is protected by the dangers that may lurk within.

One of these dangers during the winter months is rock salt that people use to avoid slipping and falling on ice. These salts are extremely hazardous to dogs and can cause burning, irritation, and seizures. Before you and Fido walk out the wintery wonderland, check out these tips to avoid rock salts and keep your dog safe in the snow.

Protect Fido’s Paws

There are a couple of things you can do to protect your dog’s paws from rock salts. The easiest and most effective way is to buy him some booties. These are slip-on shoes that are great for keeping his paws warm and to prevent him from the dangers of salt, ice, and snow. He will probably have to get used to the booties though, so let him walk around inside for a while to break them in. If your dog doesn’t react well to the booties, you can also coat his paws with a thin layer of balm or petroleum jelly. You can even find moisturizers in pet stores that are designed specifically for dogs.

Clip Your Dog’s Nails

Although it is always important to clip your dog’s nails, it is especially critical during the winter months. If your dog’s nails grow too long, they force the toes to separate and allow for the salt and other chemicals to become lodged in their paw. This can damage the paw and cause further discomfort and irritation.

Wash Off as Soon as You Come Inside

If your dog comes inside with salt on his paws, his natural instinct will be to lick it off. This will cause serious stomach problems, so you should help reduce the urge to lick by washing his paws as soon as you walk inside. You can use warm water and a soft towel, or special doggie footbaths that you can purchase from your local pet store.

While on your adventure in the winter wonderland, you may even want to keep a towel with you so that you can constantly wipe off Fido’s paws as soon as it’s necessary.

Use Alternatives to Rock Salts

The salt and chlorine in many deicers can irritate your dog’s paw and even burn him. If ingested, salt can cause vomiting, injury to the kidneys, tremors, seizures, comas, and even death.If you absolutely need to cover your sidewalks or driveway with salt, opt for ice-melting products that are safe for your four-legged friend. There are non-toxic brands of de-icing products such as Safe Paws Ice Melter or Morton Safe-T-Pet, that do not contain salt or chloride. Be sure to read the label when you buy a product and ensure that it is safe for your best friend.

Dogs love to play in the snow just as much as we do. However, we need to be a friend to our four-legged pals and make sure we take the necessary steps to avoid the dangers of rock salts.

Chewing is always a difficult problem with puppies, and it’s one that needs to be resolved for your pet to be a part of your household as well as to protect your new family member. The good news is that most dogs do grow out of their chewing behavior. The bad news is that they can do quite a lot of damage before they outgrow the habit, and often dogs with anxiety issues will continue having chewing problems into adulthood. Here are some ways to train your puppy (and protect your home!) as well as help your puppies grow into calm adult dogs:

Reward conditioning: Essentially, treat your new puppy like a toddler. When you are around, watch them like a hawk. When you see them grab onto your leather loafers or a chair leg, distract them with some other, more attractive option. When they take the rawhide chew or nylon bone or whatever “good” toy you want them to chew, give them lots of praise, petting, and treats. Absolutely do not try to chase your puppy to get the shoe or bra out of their mouth. That will tell them that it’s all just a big game to you and will encourage them to continue stealing things they know you’ll want to chase them to get back. Even though it is a lot of fun, you must resist! Play chase with good toys instead!

Chew toys: Figure out what kind of chew toys your dog likes and don’t forget to switch them up frequently. Some dogs love cow bones, some antlers, some prefer balls, some prefer stuffed animals, and some prefer ropes! Oftentimes even if the toy is the exact same your puppy will be excited about getting a second, new version of it. And pay attention to how strong of a chewer your puppy or new dog is. You don’t want to buy them toys that they’ll rip to shreds in less than an hour both because it’s a waste of money and not good for them to be eating so much plastic!

Chew toys such as hooves are great for dogs, but if they chew them too much then they can get diarrhea (not to mention the smell is horrendous…). Strong chewers can also tend to whittle away hooves and bones down to such a point that they’re very small and can be easily swallowed. These small fragments aren’t usually digestible and will either lead to vomiting or diarrhea or worse. So make sure to throw them out before they get to that point! Don’t give in, no matter how sad Buster’s puppy eyes are!

West Paw Design makes EXTREMELY durable dog toys. So durable in fact, that if your dog does manage to destroy them they will replace them for you for free! Besides the Zogoflex line by WPD the only other toys my dog Merry has never managed to destroy are the Chuckit! balls and Kong toys.

Crate training: Crate training is the most feasible option for many people, and it can keep your puppy feeling safe and secure when you’re away. This is one of the easiest ways to train a dog to be calm during separation. It takes a lot of practice when you’re home at first, but beyond the reward of an intact couch your dog will also be much happier and calmer when you are away. Working on training with a puppy or any new dog also increases the bond between you two, no matter what you work on. Plus if you ever move crate training is a fantastic way to make your dog comfortable with such a major transition.

Preventing chewing: If your puppy tends to chew on a surface that is color safe and won’t be damaged (like your fingers), you can coat the surface in white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. The smell and taste will make the object much less tempting. There are also better smelling alternatives such as Bitter Apple spray.

But more than using sprays to discourage chewing you could also use this as an opportunity to puppy-proof your house by being as diligent as possible about cleaning up. Even for adult dogs open trash can be a danger. Make sure trash is kept securely away and it would be best if electric wires such as chargers were also hidden away too. Even if they’re not plugged in they contain metals which may pose a danger to a puppy if they eat them. Cleaning up or using preventative sprays won’t change your puppy’s underlying behavior or your adult dog’s anxiety issues, but it’s a good way to help keep them (and your stuff) safe while you work on training them to chew safer toys or have less separation anxiety.

Don’t give up on your puppy: It can be hard to retrain an instinctive behavior like chewing, but it’s well worth it to have a happy, well-adjusted dog, who lives a long life as your best companion!