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.

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Dog Theft? Not My Dog!

February 5, 2010

Dog Theft? Not My Dog!-Protecting Your Best Friend From Theft

You’ve probably seen this–a yellow lab tied to the lamp post outside your local Starbuck’s or maybe a Pomeranian mix, with his adorable nose near the window crack as you put groceries into your adjacent car. What you were seeing was a dog theft waiting to happen, and your pet dog is at risk too!

The AKC reports that in 2009, dog theft increased by an alarming 30% over the previous year. And these numbers only reflect actual reported cases of dog theft. Countless dogs that go “missing” may in fact be unknown victims of theft.

These reports come from all around the country. In fact, some states’ legislatures are proposing bills that would make dog theft a felony. Many cite the economy and ruthless criminals who sell furry family members to the highest bidder. Many pet dogs are victims of dognappers who prey on the owner’s love and devotion to their dog and to the dog’s status as a family member. Whatever the reason, there are several things you should do to protect your pet dog from this fate. Some may seem obvious, but others may not. The following tips should be shared with family members and also with your pet sitter.

So, your pet dog is safe within your fenced yard. He can’t wander off and isn’t vulnerable, or so you think. Actually, pet dogs left unattended in yards are an easy mark for would-be thieves. Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard, especially if your yard is visible from the street.

Regardless of your pet dog’s obedience level, don’t let him off leash. Keep him close so he doesn’t wander off and catch the attention of thieves.

Be cautious with strangers who admire your pet dog and approach as you are walking her. Don’t answer queries about the price you paid for your dog and don’t divulge your address.

We all know it’s dangerous to leave our pet dog alone in a parked car for health reasons. But regardless of the temperature, and even if your car is locked, you are putting him at added danger of kidnapping or theft. It only takes that 5 minutes while you run into the dry cleaners, for an accomplished thief to break in and scoop up your beloved pet dog. Additionally, a thief who may break into your car only for other valuables, such your laptop or GPS system will allow your pup to get lose and run away.

Before taking your pup along with you, make sure you will be in situations where she can be with you at all times and make sure your pet sitter does the same. Choose pet-friendly stores and situations or leave her home where she is safe.

It’s also important to make sure that any pet services you use are reputable and are insured and bonded and make sure they practice the same rules for dog protection as you.

Some protection methods are really recovery methods, but ultimately the goal is protecting your pet dog from further danger. Protect your pet dog with microchip identification. If you suspect your dog was stolen, alert your microchip recovery service provider, animal control officers and local veterinarians. Report the theft to the police and make noise in your neighborhood about your pet dog’s disappearance with flyers and phone calls, And do it quickly, before the thief takes him too far away.

There is another way we can all help put a stop to this heinous crime. Don’t buy dogs from the internet, flea markets, or roadside vans. There is no way to know where these poor pups came from and they may very well be stolen. Newspaper ads that offer dogs with re-homing fees are also suspect. Loving dog owners who have to give up their pet dogs will seek good homes without re-homing fees! If you are seeking a pet dog, go to a reputable rescue group or breeder.

For most of us, our pet dog is in many respects, like one of our children. He is beloved, irreplaceable, innocent and vulnerable. He requires the same diligent care that a young child does. It’s up to us to protect him in every way we can.

This article was written by Deborah Hughes, owner of Fetch! Pet Care of Greater Wayne–East Morris.   Deborah can be reached at 973-718-7075.  Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet care company in the United States, serving 38 states and 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.