Advice from Your Pet Sitter
Courtesy of Petsitter's International (www.petsit.com)
Pet sitters are as concerned about your pets as you are. And they want only the best for you and for the pets they lovingly care for. So we asked some long-time, experienced PSI Members what advice they would give to pet owners to make sure every pet-sitting assignment is a win-win situation. The response fell into two catagories, one from a business standpoint and the other from a pet-care perspective.
Jenn Miler, Doggone Purrfect Pet Care, St. Petersburg, FL, shared this list that she leaves for all her cleints that covers the business side of good pet-sitter/pet owner communications:
Please call the office as soon as you return that we KNOW you are home safely. This call can be made 24 Hours a day, 7 days a week.
AUTOMOBILE SAFETY FOR PETS
NUMBER ONE RULE of automobile safety for pets: NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET ALONE IN A PARKED CAR! Overheating can kill an animal.
It only takes ten minutes on an 85 degree day for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit, even if the windows have been left open an inch or two. Within 30 minutes, the interior can reach120 degrees and even when the temperature is a pleasant 70 degrees, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter than the air outside. Parking in the shade offers little protection, as the sun is constantly shifting throughout the day. Pets who are young, elderly or obese are particularly at risk of overheating (Hyperthermia) as are those with thick or dark colored coats, and breeds with short muzzles.
This same precaution carries over to the winter months as well. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing an animal to freeze to death.
CAR TRAVEL TIPS
Whether you’re going around the block or across the country, the ASPCA recommends that you keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. Make sure it’s large enough for your pet to stand, sit lie down and turn around in. You’ll also want to keep in mind:
Don’t allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window. This can subject him to inner ear damage and lung infections and he could be injured by flying objects.
Don’t feed your pet in a moving vehicle, even if it’s a long drive.
Carry a gallon thermos of cold water, or bring along a 2-liter plastic bottle of water that you’ve frozen the night before.
TOP 10 TIPS FOR A LIFETIME OF GOOD HEALTH FOR YOUR PET
TIPS ON FINDING A LOST PET
A FEW WAYS TO HELP ANIMALS
· Cut plastic six-pack rings. These rings are commonly found around the necks of wildlife, from turtles to waterfowl.
· Deter ants with spices. Pour a line of cream of tartar, red chili powder, paprika or dried peppermint at the place where ants enter the house. They won’t cross it.
· Use bay leaves to keep cockroaches and moths at bay. Spread whole bay leaves in several locations around infested rooms
· Use an alternative to mothballs. Place cedar chips (or bay leaves) around clothes or sachets made of dried lavender, mint or rosemary in drawers and closets.
· Don’t kill spiders. Simply remove them and place them outside.
· Teach respect for animals. We instinctively grasp the natural bond between children and animals. We fill babies’ crib with stuff animals, put floating rubber ducks in their baths, and enjoy animals as the main characters in many children’s books. This natural connection, the child-animal relationship, provides a great opportunity for parents and teachers to instill the core value of leading a compassionate life.
· Support the connection. A child’s bond with a companion animal builds social competency, social sensitivity, interpersonal trust and empathy – All necessary qualities to building emotional intelligence and compassion.
· Educate your children. Provide children’s books about caring for animals.
· Educate yourself. Read books to learn to care for your companion animal properly.
· Consider more plant-based diet. Plant-based diet greatly reduces risk of cancer and obesity while helping to reduce the negative impact that factory farming has on animals.
· Keep cats indoors. Indoor cats live longer, safer, healthier lives. Cars, pesticides, feral cats, and storm drains are just some of the reasons to keep cats indoors. With love and shelter, cats do not feel deprived.
· Spay and neuter. Each year millions of dogs and cats are put to death in animal shelters. Spaying and neutering eases the overpopulation problem and prolongs the life your dog or cat.
· Never buy an animal from a pet shop. Adopt your companion animals from shelters. Pet shops buy from puppy mills and large-scale breeders who contribute to the population crisis and whose over-bred animals are often very unhealthy.
· Never give an animal as a gift. Many animals have been abandoned because people aren���t prepared to care for it. Discuss it with your friends and family first.
· Take notice and take action. Never ignore stray animals on the street where they become victims of disease, starvation and human cruelty. Contact your local animal shelter to report a lost animal.
· Support you local animal shelter. Animal shelters and SPCA’s always need help socializing cats and walking dogs, fostering animals and cleaning cages and pens. If you cannot volunteer, send a contribution.
· Report abuse. Call your local humane society if you witness any type of cruelty or abuse. It is common knowledge that violence towards non-human animals is a precursor of violence towards humans. Dog fighting is illegal and should be reported immediately.
· Keep them safe at home. Be sure to keep collars and tags on dogs and cats (even if they are indoors) In case of an emergency, they can be returned home safely. Be sure to have a secure fence for dogs in your yard.
· Use natural cleaners. Hazardous chemicals are harmful to you animals’ health. Use only non-toxic cleaners in your home and always clean up antifreeze (which tastes sweet to animals. Contact the Environmental Protection Agency @ 800-424-9346 to learn how to properly dispose of hazardous chemicals.
· Attend a humane dog training course with your dog. Learn how to communicate with your dog, who is eager to please but isn’t always clear on what you expect.
· Provide exercise for your dogs. Dogs need walking, running, digging and exploring. Find your local dog-friendly park or work with your community to create one.
COLD WEATHER TIPS
IT”S COLD OUTSIDE! The following guidelines will help you protect your animals when the mercury dips.
1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies from other cats, dogs and wildlife.
2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow and ice, especially during a snowstorm – dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than any other season, so make sure you’re always wears tags.
4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow and ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
7. Puppies do not tolerate cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
8. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food particularly protein to keep him and his fur in tip top shape.
9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit ASPCA – Animal Poison Control Center for more information.
10. Make sure your animal has a warm place to sleep off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
HOT WEATHER TIPS
In summertime, the living isn’t always easy for you animal friends. Dogs and cats can suffer from the same problems that humans do, such as overheating, dehydration and even sunburn.
By taking some simple precautions, you can celebrate the season and keep your pets happy and healthy.
1. A visit to the vet for a spring or early summer check-up is a must; add to that a test for heartworm, if your dog isn’t on year-round preventive medication. Do parasites bug your animal companions? Ask your vet to recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control program.
2. Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle – hyperthermia can be fatal. Even with the windows open, a parked automobile can quickly become a furnace in no time. Parking in the shade offers little protection, as the sun shifts during the day.
3. Always carry a gallon thermos filled with cold, fresh water when traveling with your pet.
4. The right time for playtime is in the cool of the early morning or evening, but never after a meal or when the weather is humid.
5. Street Smarts: When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog stand on hot asphalt. His or her body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walk during these times to a minimum.
6. A day at the beach is a no-no unless you can guarantee a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water for your companion. Salty dogs should be rinsed off after a dip in the ocean.
7. Provide fresh water and plenty of shade for animals kept outdoors; a properly constructed doghouse serves best. Bring your dog or cat inside during the heat of the day to rest in a cool part of the house.
8. Be especially sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather. Brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and Shih tzus as well as those with heart and lung diseases should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
9. When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. And please be alert for coolant or other automotive fluid leaking from your vehicle. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste and ingesting just a small amount can be fatal. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center @ (888) 426-4435 if you suspect that your animal has been poisoned.
10. Good grooming can stave off summer skin problems, especially for dogs with heavy coats. Shaving the hair to a one-inch length – Never down to the skin, please, which robs Rover of protection from the sun – helps prevent overheating. Cats should be brushed often.
11. Do not apply any kind of sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
12. Having a backyard barbecue? Always keep matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles and insect coils out of pets’ reach.
13. Please make sure that there are no open, unscreened windows or doors in your home through which animals can fall or jump.
14. Stay alert for signs of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting and drooling and mild weakness along with an elevated body temperature.
Carolyn MacDonald, Chateau Chien, Thornhill, Ontario Canada, added some advice to ensure that your pet sitter will always know what is going on with your animals. She asks clients to pick a special communication spot, like the kitchen counter or the table. On each visit, the pet sitter looks for notes from the pet owner in that spot and leaves her daily notes there when the visit is completed. She noted that the things she wants to know include:
If the pet has been ill, gotten into the garbage or a different food, so that we know to watch for vomiting or diarrhea.
If the dog or pet does not get along with certain other pets, or perhaps children, in the neighborhood
If the pet's food has been changed, in case we notice changes in their poops.
If there are food restrictions, such as only being allowed certain treats because of food allergy or intolerance to the treats we may bring with us.
If the pet has had a recent injury, so that we aren't suprised t see sudden limping and then assume something just happened.
If there should be exercise restrictions for any reason.
If the pet does not liek to be touched in a certain area or reacts badly if you touch a certain area.
If the pet needs a sweater or a coat for bad weather, and where it can be found.
If the pet has any unusual hang ups, such as skateboards, garbage cans or the noise of the garbage trucks, thunder, etc.
Pet-Sit & Pet-Sit 2
Now serving caring for pets in Florida!
We work together to make sure your pet is well cared for at all times.