Grooming your Dog at Home

As winter drags on your furry friend may be getting a little smelly. You’d like to snuggle up, but that doggy smell is just a bit overwhelming.  Time to make a grooming appointment, right?  Not necessarily. While some long haired breeds require a professional groomer, with a few preventative steps, your trips to the doggy spa can be reduced.  A pet sitting company such as Fetch! Pet Care will bathe your dog at home for a small fee.  Your pet dog remains at home and you save money.  Or, you can do it yourself by using the following tips. They can be applied to both long and short haired breeds to help keep your dog clean, good looking and cuddle-ready. 

1)      Shampoo.  Choose a quality shampoo made specifically for dogs.  While it may seem cheaper, never use human shampoo or conditioner on your dog.  Human shampoo is pH balanced for people and too harsh for dogs.

2)      Brushes. Invest in a good deshedding tool.  The most popular is the Furminator  brand.  A slicker brush is also a good investment.  Consider a grooming glove if you have a smooth coated breed. If your dog is long haired, brush him regularly paying special attention to his underside and underarm area where matting tends to happen.  Many groomers charge extra for dematting, not to mention the stress caused by the removal process.  Brushing also helps spread the natural oils, keeping the coat and skin in good shape. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your dog. When bathing your dog at home, you must brush her out completely before her hair has a chance to dry.  This is the best way to avoid matting and greatly reduces shedding.  Consult your groomer or vet for advice on the best brush for your particular breed.

3)      Nail trimmers.  There are a number of good products on the market, some of which will even help you identify where the quick or vein is within the nail. Learning to trim your dog’s nails is probably the number one way to save money, although pet owners are often insecure about this routine task. With light colored nails, you should be able to see the sensitive quick. Darker nails can more tricky, but with practice and regular attention, the job gets easier.  Have a jar of “Kwik Stop” or any styptic product handy just in case you trim too far back.

4)      Tooth Brush. Yes, your dog can use a gentle tooth brushing now and then.  Choose a soft bristle brush or finger brush and dog-specific toothpaste. They come in a variety of pet-pleasing flavors including liver, beef, and poultry. Again, human products are not appropriate and may be harmful to your pet. Even brushing without toothpaste is better than nothing at all. Your friends will thank you.

5)      Water supply.  Decide where you are going to bathe Fido.  Outside is fine so long as the temperatures are comfortable, but make sure your pet dog can’t get away from you.  In the winter, try the shower stall, bathtub with a spray attachment or even the kitchen sink if you have a small breed.

6)      Drying.  Old towels and a hair dryer set on low is all that’s required.  Of course, if the weather is warm, just let Mother Nature do the job! 

Finally, remember that there are pet service providers such as Fetch! Pet Care who will bathe your dog in your home for a small fee. Compared to the time and money invested in a trip to the groomer, the convenience of having someone come to your home is quite a bargain.  Consult your vet or groomer if you have breed specific questions and shop at a reputable pet store such as Petco.

This article was written by Phyllis Durborow, owner of Fetch! Pet Care of North Indy.  Phyllis can be reached at 317-644-1465.  Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet care company in the United States; serving 38 states in more than 2,000 cities and towns.

Preventing the Creepy Crawlies-Flea Advice for Your Pet Dog

When we see our pets start scratching we worry that our pets may have fleas. Fleas can cause allergic reactions, skin infections, tape worms infections and discomfort to your pet. There are many ways to prevent fleas and ticks. How do you choose what product is best for your pet and home? Here is a list and brief summary of the flea products on the market.

Advantage is a well known product for flea prevention. It kills fleas within 12 hours and also kills larvae and chewing lice. Advantage lasts for 30days and is available for cats and dogs.  Advantage is also safe to be used on kittens and puppies 6 weeks of age and older. Advantage is waterproof and still effective when using a mild shampoo.  Advantage can be purchased at some veterinarians and through some online suppliers.

Advantix is a flea prevention product that also prevents against ticks, repels biting flies and kills chewing lice. Advantix is a great product for dogs that hunt and spend a lot of time in the woods. Advantix cannot be used on or around cats.  Advantix is also water proof and lasts for 30days.

Frontline also protects against fleas and ticks for 30days and is waterproof. Fleas are killed within 12 hours; this product can also be used on breeding, pregnant and lactating pets. Frontline has an easy applicator and comes in a 3 pack. Although it is usually more expensive than other products it is a very effective product.

Vectra is a new product that will only be sold by veterinarians. It is proven to kill fleas within 6 hours. Vectra also protects against lice, ticks and mosquitoes. Vectra also help prevent fleas from infesting the environment. Vectra has an easy applicator but it does contain more fluid than the other flea preventatives.  Vectra makes a different dog and cat formula.  Vectra is water proof.

Capstar is an oral medication that kills all live fleas within 5 hours. Capstar does not leave any residual medication in the body so there is no long term flea control with Capstar. Capstar is only available from a veterinarian.

Revolution is a flea preventative that does not kill live fleas but keeps them from being able to reproduce. Revolution also prevents against heartworm. Revolution is only available from a veterinarian. 

Most pet stores do sell over the counter flea medication but these flea treatments have been known to cause seizures in some pets and are not as strictly controlled as flea preventatives sold by veterinarians. Doing plenty of research on products sold over the counter at pets store is highly recommended before purchasing.

The flea life cycle is 95% in the environment, not on the pet. The adult flea prefers to live on the pet but all other stages of the life are in the carpet, under the couch and in the bedding.  Flea bombs go up into the air and do not treat the area that fleas actually reproduce in. Sprays from your local pet store are a better route to go to kill the larvae and pupa. You can purchase Borax at the grocery store, sprinkle it on the carpet and vacuum it up. This does help remove and kill all the eggs. After vacuuming be sure to empty the canister or toss the bag into outside garbage.  Fleas can be brought in on your shoes and can infest through the walls in apartments.  Even if your house is very clean, fleas can still come into your home.  Fleas can carry tapeworms. When a pet bites at its skin and ingests a flea the tapeworm then infests the pet and reproduces inside the pet. Tapeworms can cause pets to lose weight, have diarrhea and can be passed on to people.  

Preventing fleas is a lot easier than treating fleas.  Some pets are allergic to the flea saliva and when bit by a flea their skin breaks out into sores and pustules.  When this happens it usually results in the pet possibly needing to be put on antibiotics, steroids and ointments or creams.

When your pet dog or cat is going to use a pet service it is important to treat your pets with a flea preventative.  Pet sitting companies do everything they can to prevent fleas but treating your pet with a preventative is the best way to protect your pet.

This article was written by Deva Samuels, owner of Fetch! Pet Care of West Seattle. Deva can be reached at 206-965-9851. Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet care company in the United States; serving 38 states in more than 2,000 cities and towns.

Keeping Your Pet Fit, Trim and Active in the Winter Months

As winter continues to tighten her grip across the nation, our pet dogs might feel a tightening of the winter sweaters right about now.

This can be a difficult time of year not only for humans but for our pets as well. Whether you’re guilty of giving your pet scraps from the holiday buffet table or just from one too many doggie treats, the fact is 40% of dogs are overweight. According to a Reuter’s article from 2008, this translates to 17 million dogs carrying extra weight.

 Time to call a pet sitting service for your pet’s dog walking needs! 

Dog walking is the most popular service request that pet services get. This is a great way to keep your pet dog fit and trim, consistently active and avoid boredom that can lead to behavioral issues.  It will also relieve the doldrums that come from your pet sitting around all day waiting for you to come home.

In addition to signing on with a pet service for your pet sitting and dog walking needs, you can also make dog treats from scratch; there are terrific recipes online or even pet recipe books, how fun! Or find a pet bakery that specializes in healthy, natural treats for your pet dog.  If you’ve been thinking about changing over to a diet dog food you’ll want to be extra careful. When it comes to their actual pet food you want to be cautious and not change it overnight. It should be a gradual change of mixing the food and then over time you’ll switch over completely. Speak with your vet about these changes and what’s best for your pet dog.

Here’s a handy suggestion for keeping your furry kids happy and healthy…When it comes time to feed my Beagle Daisy instead of using a traditional dog bowl we use a Kong. Every morning and evening we measure her food, pour it into the gadget and for the next ten minutes she rolls it around by her nose and waits for the food to drop out, piece by piece. This way she’s active while she’s eating, it stimulates her brain and she doesn’t inhale a bunch of air from eating way too fast.  Just by measuring her food and using this feeding method she has shed 13lbs.  And, the difference is amazing! She’ll be 10 this year but she has all of the energy of a 3yr old dog. She’s like Benjamin Button.

Still not sold on using a pet service or changing her feeding habits? Not even sure if your pet dog is actually overweight? Try this simple test…Stand over your dog, what do you see? Do you see her sides plump out or does she have more of an hourglass figure?  You want to see the latter; even the slightest bit of visible rib cage is acceptable.

Having a dog as a pet is a great way to stay in shape, be active and relieve stress which can lead to weight gain and boredom.

This article was written by Carolyn Alonzo, owner of Fetch! Pet Care of Chicago Loop-Lincoln Park.  Carolyn can be reached at 312-235-2409.  Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet services and pet sitting company in the United States; serving 38 states in more than 2,000 cities and towns

Holiday Pet Presents-Was Your Pet Naughty or Nice?

At holiday time, we all want to give back to those we love and who give us so much throughout the year.  Our family pets are definitely in this category.  While traditionally, a few pet owners have hung a stocking and given a new toy or some treats, pet gifts over the past few years have become much more elaborate and the choices are endless.

In a recent report by the Associated Press, a poll showed that more people this year plan to buy their pet Christmas gifts than they have in previous years.  It is interesting that, despite the economy, people are not cutting corners when it comes to their precious pets.  We asked our pet sitting team why they think this is, and the consensus was that while everything else seems gloom and doom these days, our pets consistently maintain their cheerful and loving dispositions whether or not the stock market is down.  They are a source of joy and remind us of what all we have to be grateful for and what truly is important. It pleases us to see the delight in their eyes when our pet dogs tear through a neatly wrapped package to discover a new chew toy or treat.  It is well worth the $10 to spend for a few hours of pure joy watching our pet dogs or cats enjoy something new and fascinating to them.

If you are planning on playing Santa Claus this year for your pets, there is no shortage of available gifts designed just for the pet dog or cat.  Pet owners can go for the traditional chew bones or squeaky toys, or choose a more unique gift according to their pets’ personality or needs.  Also, don’t forget about the pet lovers on your Christmas list. Pet gifts or pet service coupons can be a wonderful gift for those on your list and is always much appreciated.  

The following is a list that our pet sitting team is getting their own pets (or their clients) this year:  

  • Cute Clothes or Coats.  We are especially fond of the Pet Snuggly which is new this year.  
  • Photo with Santa.  (This is more a gift for the pet parents, but a wonderful keepsake)
  • Coupons for Grooming, Pet Sitting Services, or Doggy Massage
  • Homemade Dog Treats
  • Personalized Leashes or Collars
  • Unique or Customized Dog Beds
  • Edible Christmas Cards
  • Personalized Christmas Stockings
  • Overnight Bag for when Fido goes to stay with Grandma or the pet sitter                                   

The gift ideas are as unique and varied as the pets themselves. There are hundreds of websites out there to shop around to find the perfect pet gift for either the pet themselves or the pet parents. Our pet dogs and cats may not understand the concept of the holidays, but what they do sense is that something exciting and special is going on and that there is happiness present with the family (and the smells of a lot of good food too—maybe just a taste for Fido of Fifi??)

What will be in the stocking for YOUR pets this year?                        

This article was written by Elizabeth Turturro, owner of Fetch! Pet Care of Southwest Pittsburg.  Beth can be reached at 412-307-3892.  Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet care company in the United States; serving 38 states in more than 2,000 cities and towns.