Dog 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

Memorial Day is just around the corner, and all pet owners know that this holiday sparks the beginning of the celebratory fireworks season. While there are many wonderful experiences to enjoy with your pups during the warmer summer month, there is one experience that dogs (and other pets) do not enjoy: the dreaded cacophony of celebratory fireworks. 

Luckily, there are some steps you can take to help your pup make it through a noisy evening without incident, and we are here to help with some tried and true recommendations! 

Before the Fireworks Begin 

Be Sure Your Pet’s Tags are Current

July 5th is one of the busiest days for shelters across the country, as shelter employees scramble to reunite pets who bolted during noisy festivities with their owners. You can expedite the process by ensuring your pet’s identification tags are current and the phone number on the tag is accurate. If your pet is microchipped, check if the registration and contact information on the microchip is current as well – most require yearly renewal and a small fee to continue serving their purpose. A GPS tracker attached to your pet’s collar could be a helpful addition as well; even dogs that aren’t usually inclined to bolt may do so under stress. 

Allow Your Pet To Experience Fireworks in Advance 

To desensitize your pet to the fireworks experience, we suggest putting on the sounds of fireworks before the day the real thing is scheduled to take place. Luckily, YouTube offers a video that offers ten straight hours of varying fireworks sounds to get your pup more accustomed to the noise of fireworks, and – hopefully – when the big day comes around, they’ll be less reactive to the noise. A video featuring ten whole hours of firework sounds may be found here. 

Go on a Long Stroll During Daylight Hours 

A pup that has had the opportunity to be tired out in advance is a pup that may be calmer once dusk arrives to bring both neighborhood and distant fireworks noise. The day fireworks are typically common, try to take your pup for a longer stroll around the neighborhood. And even if it is earlier in the day, do keep your pups on a leash – a zealous neighbor may begin celebrations early, and could startle your pup and make him run.

To ensure your pup is as comfortable as possible, try to walk your pups closer to dusk, giving them an opportunity to potty as close as possible to the beginning of the fireworks. 

Create Some Hiding Places Around Your Home

Fireworks can startle any one of your fuzzy friends. One way to soften the sound is to create a few hiding areas around your home. Perhaps you can open your closet just a little bit, and put a soft blanket on the floor right inside; if you have desks, or a dining room table, drape them in a large sheet to create a makeshift fort for your pets. Be sure that your bathtub is clean, and leave the doors open to give your pets access to the room – tubs are usually hidden within homes, and may be a good location for your frightened pet to get away in a relatively insulated space. 

If you have little pets such as bunnies, hamsters, or ferrets, we recommend providing a cover for their hutches/enclosures that still allow them to have a good view, and adding extra blankets for them to burrow in for added security. Don’t forget to close your windows and draw your curtains, if possible, to provide added sound insulation against the outdoors. 

Turn on Some Music

Some research shows that classical music can help to calm distressed pups, so pick your favorite piece, set it to a mix, and settle in for a night of calm among the outdoor noise. Just be sure to keep the volume low – while canines have been shown to experience a calming effect from certain classical pieces, the effect is notably less effective if the music is overly loud. 

Additionally, research indicates that while canines respond best to lower frequencies to lower their heart rates and agitation, cats tend to respond better to higher frequencies, such as harp music and songs set in higher keys. 

Hot Diggity Tip: Some of our pets absolutely adore Tchaikovsky’s symphonies in particular! 

Television Options

With the advent of HDTV, dogs, who were previously unable to see television shows as continuous images (they would simply see flickering light) – are now able to enjoy the activity on their screen just like humans!

Currently, there are increasing reports of both dogs and cats being able to enjoy nature shows that feature the kind of movements that their wild counterparts experience in the great outdoors. If you happen to have Netflix, there are a variety of nature documentaries that may be of interest to both canine and feline spirits – such as the aptly titled Dogs, the Our Planet series, and for our feline friends, we’d like to suggest The Lion in Your Living Room, to both distract your pets from the outdoor noise – and perhaps even give you and your pet a bit of bonding time with something cute you can enjoy together! 

Adjust Your Pets’ Feeding Schedule

Pets that are anxious or agitated may not want to eat once outdoor noise begins. On these holidays, we recommend feeding your pets earlier in the day to ensure they get the nutrition they need. However, pets may actually drink more water than usual if they’re feeling anxious; therefore, make sure to provide your pet with extra bowls of fresh cool water around your home in places where your pet is likely to find refuge during the noise. 

Pro-tip for kitties: Many cats enjoy drinking water out of coffee mugs, which are easy to strategically place around the house, simple to clean, and even if knocked over by a startled cat, involve less spillage overall. 

Invest in a Calming Diffuser System 

If your pet struggles with anxiety issues in general, calming diffusers are a simple and drug-free way in which you can keep calm throughout the summer months.

For cats: Feliway diffusers are an excellent calming option but please keep in mind that they take a couple weeks to begin working in the home. You may purchase a Feliway diffuser multi-cat starter kit here

For dogs: Adaptil pheromone sprays can be used to control and prevent feelings of stress by sending calming messages to your pup’s emotional centers and can also be sprayed on bedding and around your home where your pup may prefer to hide. You may purchase a small travel spray online for only $18. 

While we cannot guarantee that each of these strategies will be 100% effective, ensuring that your pets’ tags are current, that they have been well fed and have access to water prior to noise, and that they have lots of hiding locations around the home will at least guarantee a smoother celebratory evening. Remember that, if these strategies do not work the first time, you may always turn to your veterinarian for additional advice and a medication, if absolutely necessary. 

Have an excellent holiday season! 

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

You Are Saving Multiple Lives

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

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

You Can Improve Your Health

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

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

You Are Helping to Abolish Puppy Mills

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

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

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

Choosing a Breed is Not Impossible!

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

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

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

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

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

Your Pet’s Personality May Already Be Known

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

Older Pets Can Be Easier to Adopt

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

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

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

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

Prevention before panic!

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

Spay & neuter your pets

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

Pet-proof your home & yard

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

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

Leash up your pup 

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

Identification 

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

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

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

Get your pup a license!

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

Addressing behavioral & emotional issues

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

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

So your pup is lost, what now?

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

Beginning the search

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

Spam social media

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

Contact your local animal shelters & animal control

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

Scour the internet

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

Flyers, flyers, flyers!

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

As many non-essential businesses are being temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you may have found your pups groomer to be among them! While we don’t recommend going all out and giving your pup a whole new hairdo – we’ve got some basic at home grooming tips to keep your pup looking fresh until you can visit the doggy salon again. If you’ve got a short haired breed, or one that doesn’t need regular haircuts, these basics will keep your pup looking and feeling their best year round, too!

The most important thing to remember is that you want your dog to enjoy (or at least not hate) the grooming process. Some pups might not mind at all, while others may find the whole soapy situation incredibly stressful. This may mean breaking up the grooming process into small steps, only a couple minutes a day, instead of making a whole day out of the process. Of course, be sure to give your dog plenty of treats along the way!

 

Nails

Tools of the trade:


As a general rule, you should plan on trimming your dog’s nails once a month. Some dogs will need more or less frequent nail trimming depending on a couple different factors. For example, larger and more active dogs that spend a lot of time outside on pavement will wear down their nails naturally and will need to be trimmed less often than a smaller pup that spends most of his day napping on a comfy bed.

The most important thing to remember when cutting a dog’s nails is that pups have a vein in their nails called a quick that will bleed (and hurt!) if you cut it too short. In dogs that don’t get their nails cut frequently enough, the vein can grow very long, so you can only take a little bit off at a time. If that’s the case, you should trim a little bit off your dog’s nails every week to encourage the vein to shrink back into the nail.

If you use dog nail clippers, the easiest way to cut your dog’s nails is to position your dog in a way where you can flip their paw back and look at the underside. Once you’ve got your dog comfortably situated, begin to trim. In dogs with white nails, the quick is visible, and thus, it’s easier to trim the nail to avoid coming near the quick. If your pup has black nails, however, only cut off a little bit at a time. You will see a tiny black dot surrounded by white when you get close to the quick. That’s how you know to stop.

Nail grinders are a great way to get your dog’s nails short and smooth with less risk of cutting the quick. Nail grinders can be loud however, so you may need to introduce it to your dog slowly. Use the same process to take off a little bit at a time until you see the dot in the middle of the nail showing that you’ve gone short enough.

It’s a good idea to keep styptic powder handy to stop bleeding if you trim a nail too short!

 

Brushing

Tools of the trade:
 

Most dogs benefit from being brushed a couple times a week. Even if you have a pup whose breed requires less frequent brushing, all pups can benefit from a regular brushing routine: it helps dogs to remain calm during grooming appointments, keeps their skin healthy and prevents a buildup of dander, and it’s an excellent way to bond with your best buddy! But which of the many grooming tools do you actually need for regular coat maintenance?

SMOOTH AND SHORT COATS: 

For our “bully” breeds and hounds, a bristle brush works well. A gentle rub-down with a rubber brush or grooming mitt to loosen dead hair and dirt should be sufficient, but if your dog has a long enough coat to get some small knots, a pinhead brush will sort them out.

LONG COATS:

Old English Sheepdogs and other shaggy breeds are prone to tangles and matting. Use a slicker brush or wide-toothed comb to gently work through any mats – don’t cut them out. An undercoat rake is needed to get through all the layers of hair and reach the roots after the tangles have been removed. 

DOUBLE COATS:

Most retrievers and shepherds have a double coat – meaning they have a soft, seasonal undercoat that sheds twice a year, and a coarser outer coat that sheds only once a year. Double-coated dogs can have both long and short coats. For either coat length, start with a slicker brush to remove loose hair from the outer coat and any debris trapped in the coat. Then, use an undercoat rake, which is a specialized tool to get through the double coat and gently remove any dead hair or tangles from the inner coat.

SILKY COATS:

Yorkies and other soft lap dogs typically have long and fine hair, with no undercoat. Use a comb to remove tangles, and a bristle brush to keep it nice and shiny.

WIRE COATS:

Many terriers have wiry coats that are rough and do not shed. Use a curved-wire slicker brush and a stripping comb to thin out an overgrown coat and brush away mats.

CURLY COATS:

Doodles and Poodles and Schnoodles, oh my! These coats are soft, thick, and puffy. They may shed less than other breeds, but they can be hard to maintain. To remove tangles from curly coats, use a metal comb or dematting tool and work slowly, exercising patience.

 

Teeth

Tools of the trade:

80% of dogs have periodontal disease or other dental problems by the time they’re 3 years old – that’s a staggering percentage! Gum disease is no small matter either: it can lead to lost teeth, abscesses, a broken jaw, heart disease, or even death. That’s right – the bacteria from your dog’s bad teeth can get into their bloodstream and cause a myriad of problems. 

You should aim to brush your dog’s teeth every day, but a couple times a week at a minimum will suffice. If you’ve never brushed your dog’s teeth before, you need to start slowly. Always use a dog specific toothpaste – not your own! They come in an array of pup-friendly flavors too! Let them sniff and lick the dog toothpaste first, then put the toothpaste on your finger and rub it on the outside of your dog’s teeth. Work your way up to a finger toothbrush and then a dog toothbrush.

If your dog refuses to let you brush their teeth, you may also use dental sprays, water additives, and tooth wipes that are still a better choice than no dental care at all! 

 

Bath Time!

Tools of the trade:

Some people never wash their pups, while others bathe their pups every weekend. You should aim somewhere in the middle. Most dogs should be bathed every 1-3 months, but no more than once a month. If you absolutely must bathe your pup more frequently, be sure to use a very gentle shampoo made specifically for dogs – such as a hypoallergenic or oatmeal shampoo. As overwashing can dry out your dog’s skin and coat, following shampoo with a dog-specific conditioner can help to retain necessary coat moisture. Never use human shampoos to wash your pups, as humans’ skin pH is different than dogs, and even gentle baby shampoos are too harsh for your pup’s skin. 

Pro-tip: Be sure you’ve gathered all necessary supplies before you start the bath – there is nothing worse than chasing a slippery dog around the house who got loose while you went to grab a towel! 

Bathing Instructions:

Prepare the tub with a bath mat or towel to give your pup some traction; dogs don’t like the feel of slippery sink or bathtub surfaces underneath their feet. 

Make sure to use lukewarm water – the temperature you would use for a baby’s bath is perfect! If you have a flexible sprayer attachment, this is WAY easier and time effective than trying to rinse a dog with a cup, but you can make do either way.

First things first: Get your dog wet! Start at their back end and work your way forward toward their head. Then it’s time to soap them up. Be careful NOT to get shampoo in your pups’ eyes – nobody likes that! Using a rubber scrubby brush (as shown in the “brushes” section above) can help you get the shampoo thoroughly through their coat and loosen up dead skin/fur as well! 

Once they’re all sudsy, rinse thoroughly to remove all shampoo! When you think you have all the shampoo out, rinse an additional time (and then once more, for good measure)! It’s easy to accidentally leave a little shampoo in your dog’s thick coat.

Use a towel (or two, or three) before your pup escapes the tub to get them mostly dry then it’s up to you whether you want to use a blow dryer or not. If you do use a hair dryer, make sure to use a cool setting. Dogs can overheat very easily. Otherwise, enjoy watching your dog bolt around the house overjoyed to be out of the tub!

 

Ears

Tools of the trade:

Your dog’s ears should be cleaned at least once a month. You can use an ear cleaner specifically made for dogs or witch hazel on a cotton ball. It’s normal to see a little bit of dirt on the cotton ball after swiping the inside of your dog’s ear, but if the cotton ball comes out gunky or stinky, your dog likely has an ear infection and needs a trip to the vet.

Out of dog treats and reluctant to run to the store for just one item? Running low on supplies due to panic-buyers clearing the shelves? It’s a stressful time for humans and pups alike, and we all deserve a treat or two to keep our spirits high! With this in mind, here are a couple simple recipes for dog treats you can make at home with short ingredient lists that won’t tax your pantry.

These recipes are also simple enough for little humans to be able to help in the preparation process, and will keep in the fridge for one week in an airtight container – that is, if Fido doesn’t get ‘em first!

Also featuring our official Taste-Tester, Mia!
 

Peanut Butter Treats

*1 cup oats
*1 ripe banana
*1 egg
*3 Tbsp peanut butter

Mash up the banana with the egg and peanut butter. Stir in the oats. Place spoonfuls of batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and smoosh them a little with a fork. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Mia’s Rating: 4.5/5 stars
“What’s that? Is it for me? GIMME!”

Chewy Cheesy Puffs*
 
*1 cup flour
*1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
*1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
*1/2 cup evaporated lowfat milk
*1 egg

Mix everything together thoroughly. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes.
*Some dogs have trouble digesting dairy – don’t overdo it on these treats until you know how you pup reacts.

Mia’s Rating: 4/5 stars
“Mmmmm, cheesey!”
Have fun baking! And remember, Hot Diggity is currently offering Grocery Shopping Services if you’d like to add these ingredients to your next grocery delivery (these are Large Shopping Trip and Large Shopping Trip in your Client Portal!)

Before you take on the responsibility of another dog, you must ensure that you will be able to handle adding another friend to your family. Make sure that you will be able to afford the costs of more food, supplies, medicine, and vet appointments. It is also important that you have enough space for your dog, especially if they are a larger breed. 

Do you have enough time for the new dog? This is another important question to ask yourself because a new furry friend means even more time outside exercising your pups. It can be a lot of work, especially if you aren’t expecting it. If you’re ready for the added responsibility, however, bringing a new pet home can be a great experience. There are just a few things to keep in mind.

Before They Arrive

Before your dog comes home, you should prepare your house for the new addition. If you have a dog already, this is a good time to make sure that your house is safe for additional pets. For example, ensure that the houseplants that you have are safe for dogs. If you are bringing home a puppy, it may be wise to take additional steps to make your home and yard safe for the dog. You may also want to purchase important supplies for your pup ahead of time, including things like food, bowls for food and water, a collar, a leash, and toys.

Introductions

Before you officially bring your dog home, you should ensure that everyone will get along with the new pet. To do this, take the time to make sure all members of your household meet the new addition and give their approval. This includes your existing pets! Many shelters will allow you to bring your dogs and cats to the shelter to meet the new dog to ensure that they can live harmoniously. Additionally, introducing your pets in neutral territory like a shelter will keep resource guarding and aggression at bay. 

Remember that all dogs have different personalities and preferences. There will be certain dogs that won’t get along; that’s normal. However, it is important to find this out before you bring a new dog home instead of after. Otherwise, this tension can lead to territorial aggression, something that can also result from anxiety in your dogs. Introducing them ahead of time is a good way to help avoid this issue completely. 

If it isn’t possible to make introductions in a neutral space like a shelter, it is important to gradually introduce your pets as opposed to just tossing them together. Consider introducing your dogs while they are in a crate, then easing them out of it once they’ve calmed down have become somewhat used to the new addition’s presence. Don’t forget that you’ll also need to take time to walk the new pet around their new home. When introducing your dog to the new home, it is helpful to introduce a bit of the house at a time. Consider allowing them to look around one room at a time.

Home Alone

It can be very stressful for your dog to be home alone in a place with which they are unfamiliar, especially if they are home alone with new animals. At first, try to limit the amount of time that your dog is home alone. One way to make it easier for them is to set up a quiet and calm place for them to be while they are at home alone, like a bed with their own toys.

If any of your dogs suffer from separation anxiety, a new addition to the environment can increase this dramatically. Limiting initial alone time together is a good way to combat this, in addition to things like CBD oil for anxiety, and crate training. A lot of dog owners are turning to this natural remedy to help make their pup feel more comfortable when they’re alone.

If you choose crate training, gradually ease them into the space and make it comfortable for them. If your new dog is a puppy, ensure that the crate will have enough space as they grow. It may also help to set up the crate in a room that makes them comfortable and is away from noise and distractions. Make sure it is well-ventilated and light enough, too. The crate should be seen as a safe space for your dog, not a punishment, so you want to ensure the space suits them.

Settling In

When your dog is the newest addition to your family, it will be easy to shower them with attention. Remember, however, that you’ll eventually want them to fit in with the rest of your family on a daily basis without special attention. Try not to give them too much attention, in other words, because doing so could inadvertently train them to expect praise and treats all the time. Make sure that you love all of your pets equally and include them all as a part of your family. One way to do this is to take your dogs for walks together, which will help them to be active and bonded. It may take time to adjust them to this new routine, so make sure that you remain patient with your dogs and reward positive behavior. You may also plan “doggie dates” for them to all bond with each other and the family. This will help to acclimate the new dog and create shared time together.

 

Bringing a new pet home is no small decision, and there are many things to consider before making the choice. If you do decide that expanding the family is the right choice for you, make sure to use this guide to ensure a smooth transition for everyone.

This guest post is from Madison Adams, you can view her travel blog here!

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

Healthy

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

Happy

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

Social

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

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

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