pets 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!

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!)

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!

Dental health is important for animals just like it is for people – be sure to get Buster’s teeth looked at regularly and check out the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website for important tips and a quiz to test how much you know about pet dental health!

Pet Life Hack:

You can also make your own toothpaste with this simple recipe!

2 tablespoons of baking soda (gets rid of plaque)

2 tablespoons of cinnamon (makes your pup’s breath smell nice)

1/3 cup of coconut oil (holds the ingredients together)

1 beef bouillon cube (makes the toothpaste yummy!)

 

Combine 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of baking soda into a bowl and mix. Add ⅓ cup coconut oil and stir again. Put the beef bouillon cube into a separate bowl and use the back of a spoon to chop the cube up. Add the chopped cube to the rest of the mixture and blend until everything is one uniform color. (Yes, it will look like refried beans…or poo…but it will be a tasty treat for Buster!)

Use a regular toothbrush or wrap your pointer finger in gauze and brush your dog’s teeth in a circular motion, aiming at the areas with the most plaque, and calmly talking them through the process. Rinse off any excess toothpaste in their water dish and enjoy that healthy pearly white smile!

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.