Why You MUST Have an In-Home Consultation With Your Pet Sitter

If you need someone to watch your pet while you’re out of town or if you are looking for a dog walker to visit your dog while you are at work, then an in-home consultation is crucial. You will be bringing this new person into your home and into your pet’s life. For that reason, the two of you should meet before they begin working for you. Here are some reasons a consultation is so important:

You Get a Sense of the Sitter

Your pet sitter is going to be coming into your home when you are not there. If you are going through a reputable agency, you should have some reassurance that this person has had background checks and been thoroughly vetted. Even if that’s the case, you should still meet to get a sense of this person. An in-home consultation gives you a good idea of how comfortable you will be allowing this person into your home to care for a cherished member of your family.

Your Pet Gets to Know the Sitter

It is so important for any prospective pet sitter to meet your pet ahead of time. Sometimes cats can be skittish when it comes to strangers, but dogs may be even more of a concern. If your dog is territorial or just anxious, he will definitely need to see that this person has your seal of approval. Letting the pet take his time to check the pet sitter out while the two of you talk can help to alleviate fears. This means your pup will be much more comfortable with the sitter the next time they meet.

The Sitter Can Be Introduced to Routines

Obviously, the sitter is going to be caring for your pet, so it is a good idea to introduce them to your pet’s routines. Show them where your pet’s supplies are kept. Let them know when and how much to feed your pet. You may even show them the route you take your dog when you go walking, and of course where their harness or collar and leash are kept. This is also a good time for the sitter to understand what rules your pet is expected to follow, like not jumping or sitting on the furniture. Your sitter will also have the opportunity to see what commands your pet is familiar with like “sit” and “stay.”

How to Introduce Your Pet

When the pet sitter comes into your home, the two of you may just sit and chat, initially. This will give your pet the chance to check out this new person without any pressure. Here are some things you can try when introducing your pet to someone new:

  • Keep him in another room until the sitter has settled in. Once the pet sitter is seated, you can release your dog or cat.
  • Let your pet make the first move. While the two of you talk, your dog or cat may come to investigate. Your dog may sniff or your cat may rub up against her. The visitor should not make any eye contact or attempt to touch your pet until the pet has made the first overtures. This indicates that they are open to being touched.
  • Allow the sitter to offer your pet some treats. This will help to build a bridge. Do not allow treats to be offered if your pet is behaving in a shy or fearful manner. This could actually reinforce the anxious behavior.

Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking offers in-home consultations free of charge. This allows you to meet with a sitter who is experienced, bonded and insured and whose background has been thoroughly checked. This gives you peace of mind and allows your pet to acclimate to a new caregiver while you are present. This also gives you and the sitter the opportunity to discuss your pet’s needs and routines. For more information or to schedule your consultation, visit our website or give us a call today. You can also fill out the new client paperwork here.

How to keep your Cat’s happy & healthy!

What is there to know about cat toys  & the link to a cat’s happiness, you say?  A LOT!  “Cats are athletic creatures with amazing strength and agility.  Nature made them into perfect machines for leaping, jumping and dashing.  Just because your house kitty doesn’t have real prey to chase doesn’t mean she can’t act out her inner predator. Play gives them an outlet for their energy, mental and physical stimulation, the opportunity to satisfy their instinctual hunting drive and a chance to bond with you.” (http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/cat_toys.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/)

Cat toys today are on a whole new level…they even have cat boxes delivered to your door step (like Barkbox, but for your kitties)!  See below for the link to become a monthly subscriber:)

There are all kinds of ways to spoil your cats and we all know every cat needs a toy or two.  And yes, the free way of entertaining your cats still exists–using the good old empty cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels, will always work.

“There are several toys that can help keep them occupied, while stimulating and challenging their curiosity and intelligence. The exercise certainly helps, too.” *(https://www.thespruce.com/toys-for-cats-home-alone-554647)


Here are some toys to keep your cat stimulated and entertained while you are away:

  1. Interactive Bird DVD’s
  2. Peek A Prize Toy Prize
  3. Catnip Cigars
  4. Interactive and automatic cat balls (catnip optional)
  5. Mylar Balls (think shiny!)
  6. Paper Shopping Bags
  7. Cardboard boxes
  8. Rubber bands

If you are the type that likes to get creative and DIY, here are some cool options as well (for more info. & instructions for the following toys, please go to https://www.worldsbestcatlitter.com/clearing-the-air/2014/03/the-10-best-homemade-cat-toys/ :

1. HOMEMADE CATNIP YARN BALLS: Transform glue, catnip, yarn, and Styrofoam balls into irresistible homemade cat toys.

2. HOMEMADE TOILET PAPER ROLL CAT TOY: Save the tubes from your toilet paper rolls, and you can make anything from a cool sphere to a treat rattle.

3. FEATHER CAT POUNCE TOY: We love these felt “feathers”—and the little bell is music to our ears.

4. CAT TRANSIT SYSTEM: For DIYers with serious metalworking skills, here’s an outrageous way to route cat traffic in your home.

5. HOMEMADE CAT TOYS MADE FROM SOCKS: Finally, a use for all those lone socks who’ve lost their mates.

6. CARDBOARD CAT PALACE: Take your cat’s love of a good cardboard box to the next level.

7. PRACTICALLY FREE HOMEMADE MOUSE TOY: Download an adorable mouse template, break out the cardboard and scissors, and voila! Hours of feline entertainment.

8. SUPER SIMPLE PIPE CLEANER CAT TOY: This one’s so easy, your kids can make it! All you need are a few pipe cleaners—the shinier the better.

9. COMPUTER MOUSE CAT TOY: Rummage through your old computer junk to make this super-cute homemade cat toy.

10. MENSWEAR MICE: Have you been meaning to weed out your closet? Here’s a use for all those old shirts and suit jackets that don’t fit anymore!


Now, more on those pawsome monthly cat boxes sent to your door—–they are called KitNipBox and the boxes contain high-quality cat toys, all-natural treats, and other fun, healthy cat products.  Click on the following link for examples of what you can find in your cat’s box: https://s3.amazonaws.com/KitNipBox/Emails/Sample+Product+Insert+for+Website.pdf

https://www.kitnipbox.com/?wm_crID=53856589&wm_lpID=179787508&wm_ctID=549&wm_kwID=112341206&wm_m_crID=81913628104636&wm_m_kwID=134167196409&wm_m_qs=cat+toys&wm_m_mt=e&wm_m_device=c&wm_m_phyloc=&wm_m_intloc=&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=General%20-%20Cat%20-%20Exact&utm_term=cat%20toys&utm_content=Cat%20Toy&gclid=CICLhq-e_dUCFQnRgQodvdwDqA&gclsrc=ds&wm_kw=cat+toys&wm_sd=1#how

Lastly, any cat can get bored of their toys…to ensure they do not get bored–rotate them out each week or month.  Of course, interactive toys are the best as they strengthen the bond between you and your cat. Found toys are often more popular than introduced toys.  Cats also love “hide & seek” of course.  Just plain old human interaction, a little love and TLC.

The Raw Truth: Raw Food Diets for Pets

 

We love our fur children. We want the best for them as pet parents and the healthiest lifestyle we can provide. We emphasize giving them plenty of exercise, socialization with other humans and animals, vitamins and supplements, and, of course, the best nutrition and food diet(s) as possible. Throughout the years, numerous “trends” have evolved for our pets that, as their parents, we jump on to ensure our beloved babies have the healthiest life we can give to them.

Recently, a newer and popular trend is switching our pets to a raw food diet. But, what exactly is a raw food diet? Is it the best option for my pet(s)? Is it safe? Is it time consuming to prepare? Is it expensive? When should I make the switch? How should I switch them? And, the questions keep going…until now. Here is the low down and what you need to know.

 

A good diet can contribute to a long and healthy life and even psychological well-being for our pets.

 

Most of us give our pets the traditional dry and/or canned food as their meal. When the organic versions of these foods released, you may have started giving your pet this “healthier” option. Lately, there has been a newer option available- Raw Food. A raw diet is a more “natural” diet for our pets. There are two major types of raw diets: commercial and home-prepared. Commercial raw diets, which may be fresh or frozen, supply all of the dog’s requirements and are typically in a meat patty form.

 

Home-prepared raw diets usually consist of raw meat and bones, with veggies, fruits, supplements, and added grains. These diets may not be balanced each day but, if designed properly, should meet the dog’s requirements over the long term.

 

A raw food diet for our pets is controversial, however, the popularity is rising amongst pet owners. Raw food diets consists of raw meat, bones, fruits & vegetables. There are positive benefits like shinier coats, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, smaller stools and higher energy levels.

 

A raw food diet typically consists of muscle meat (often still on the bone), organ meats such as livers and kidneys, bones (whole or ground), raw eggs, vegetables like broccoli, spinach & celery, apples and other fruits, and some dairy such as yogurt and cottage cheese.

 

Over the past couple of years, there have been a number of pet food recalls. When preparing your dog’s food at home, you have total control of what you include in your dog’s food and where those ingredients are from.

 

Raw diets (especially home-made diets) allow you to meet your dog’s specific needs. Raw diets can be prepared to avoid foods that your dog is allergic to and can be made to meet your dog’s specific nutrient requirements. The high water content present in raw food may allow you to feed more while still keeping the calories low for your pet.

Processed foods often have added preservatives that enhance product shelf life. Food that has been freshly prepared and has not been processed or had preservatives added is commonly considered a healthier choice. Commercial raw diets are usually frozen, which means they don’t require added preservatives.

 

The bones that are part of the raw diet are anecdotally considered to be good for dental hygiene, which can be good for overall health.

Feeding a raw diet may provide your dog with a natural outlet for their chewing tendencies; this may help to improve her overall behavior.

 

Some pet owners prefer to purchase these items and make their own meals for their pets. Whereas, others may prefer to purchase commercially processed raw food diets that are frozen or freeze-dried and/or combination diets that use blends of grains, vegetables, and vitamins that are mixed with raw meat purchased by the owner at the grocery store. For most pets, it is more beneficial than processed foods.

 

Feeding raw food is expensive and time consuming. The cost of a raw dog food diet varies with the ingredients used and how it is prepared. For a 30-pound dog, a one-day supply of one variety of a frozen, commercially available raw chicken diet costs about $2.50; others may range up to $5 a day. A super-premium, commercial dry dog food costs about $1.

 

The preparation of balanced meals for your dog every day can be a challenge to fit into a busy lifestyle. As a rule of thumb, if you are eating out more than three meals a week, you are likely too busy to properly prepare meals for your dog, so a homemade raw diet may not be the best choice for your life schedule.

 

However, there are some risk factors associated with feeding a raw diet to your pet.  

Raw diets have been found to contain Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Clostridium botulinium, and Staphylococcus aureus, all of which are known human and canine pathogens. These bacteria are shed in dog stools and may be transferred to carpets and furniture as the dog moves around the house. These pathogens usually only pose a serious human risk to the immuno-compromised, the elderly, and young children; however, this is a very important consideration if you are feeding a raw diet and have people in these risk groups living in your home.

 

In addition, there is a potential risk to dogs from certain pathogens found in raw foods, such as Neospora caninum, found in raw beef, Nanophyetus salmincola, found in raw salmon, and Trichinella spiralis, which  is found in raw pork and wild game such as deer, elk, and moose. All of these pathogens can make your dog sick and are potentially fatal.

 

Feeding bones can cause choking, intestinal blockage or perforations, and chipped or broken teeth.

Because it can be difficult and time consuming to adequately balance a raw diet, nutritional deficiencies, especially in vitamins and minerals, are a significant possibility. To complicate the matter even further, some nutritional deficiencies take many months to show up and you may not see the problems with feeding a particular diet until the animal has been eating it for months or years.

 

Raw vegetables are often poorly digested by dogs. Most of the nutrients in raw vegetables are rendered more available when they are lightly cooked and then ground.

 

Much of the existing research on raw diets surrounds the microbial risks of raw meats and is very important to take into consideration. Also, a raw diet is not beneficial with puppies or kittens and more for the “older” pet. If you don’t get the calcium and phosphorous ratio right, you can have bone deformities and growth issues.

 

Needless to say, if you are on the fence about switching your pet(s) to a raw food diet, or you know you are ready to do so, it is best to discuss with your veterinarian FIRST before taking the plunge. Your vet knows your pet’s health the best and will be able to advise if the switch would be beneficial and safe for them. They will also give instruction on how to safely make the switch for your pets and will educate you on this type of diet geared for your fur baby.

 

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/raw-dog-food-dietary-concerns-benefits-and-risks

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/95490454576181637/