Pet Safety at Your Super Bowl Party

What are some things that dog owners should do before having people over to watch the game on Sunday?  football dog

I have some in this video blog. Keeping Your Pet Safe at Your Super Bowl Party.

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Pet Safety on the Fourth of July

Happy Birthday USA!  This year, for the first time, you will be able to celebrate our country’s 239th in Georgia with fireworks, legally.  Who doesn’t love fireworks?  fireworks21

Your pets.  More pets are lost over the 4th of July holiday than at any time of the year.  Pets get spooked by the loud noise and run off.  Even if they are kept in a fenced in area, they get agitated enough, they will find any way they can to escape.

I have posted a lot each year about keeping your pets away from fireworks displays, whether it’s a big, formal fireworks show in your town or just shooting off firecrackers and things in the neighborhood.  With fireworks sales being legal now in Georgia since Wednesday, I thought I may need to do it again.

Not all dogs are affected by fireworks.  If your dog gets scared during thunderstorms, there’s a good chance it will get spooked by fireworks.  Make sure you keep your dog in an inside part of your house.  That way it’s harder to get out and it’s harder to hear the fireworks as well.  Also play some relaxing music if possible.  That’s another way to try and drown out the sound of the blasts.  Don’t leave the TV on a regular channel.  Put it on a soothing music channel.  It’s also a good idea to exercise your dog during the day, so it will be tired and ready to sleep.

Nearly all pets have a safe area in their homes.  That’s a place they go when they are scared.  It could be a closet, a corner, a bed or under the bed.  If you know where your pet’s safe place, great.  If not, test your smoke alarm and see where the pet goes.  This is good to know, because if there is a fire or something in your house, you won’t have to waste time looking for the dog, you can go to the safe area and get it.

It’s great to celebrate America’s birthday with family and friends.  Pet owners love to have their pets with them and usually that is part of the fun.  But this is one time where it may be best to leave the pets behind.  Keep them where they are safe and comfortable and won’t be spooked and can’t run off.  Nothing spoils a celebration like having to look for a lost pet.

Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by checking out our Instagram page at http://instagram.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

What’s the Best Dog Movie?

Max, a movie about a military dog whose handler is killed and is adopted by his family back in the States, opened over the weekend.  maxI’ve seen the commercials for the movie and it looks interesting, especially to dog lovers.  But all movies can look good when you have less than 30 seconds for a promo.  Max is a Belgian Malinois, a breed I wasn’t familiar with until I started my dog walking business.  We took care of some and they are great dogs.  One of the ones we took care of was named Max.

They made national headlines with their involvement with the capture of Osama Bin Laden.  I’m not going to mention much else about Max, because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.  Also, most of the reviews that I have read haven’t been favorable.  In fact, one says the great dog can’t save the bad plot.  The premiere got me wondering what is the best dog movie ever produced.

I have to admit, I’m not much of a movie person at all.  I don’t see more than 2 or 3 movies a year.  I didn’t see Marley (truth be told, I was afraid that would be a little too sad for me). marley I didn’t see Cujo (I don’t like movies like that).  I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the Beethoven movies.  I did see Old Yeller as a kid.  When I think of dog movies I think of Lassie and Benji.   I Googled dog movies  to see if there were some movies I couldn’t think of.  I found several sites came up that listed their views.   Ranker has a list of best dog movies and they list to 77.  The first is Turner and Hooch.  77th is Bailey’s Billion$ (sic).  According to IMDB, Sweet and savvy talking golden retriever, Bailey, is one doggone lucky pooch when his devoted owner, Constance Pennington, leaves him her entire billion-dollar fortune.  IMDB ranks it as 3.9 stars.  If you were a fan of it, go to Ranker.com and vote it up.

Because I don’t watch a lot of movies, I don’t usually get involved in debates over “the best movie.”  I feel more confident debating the merits of athletes. max2 I don’t know where Max will wind up in the annals of all time great dog movies.  It came in as the 4th highest grossing movie over the weekend, with $12 million.  It was number 2 among movies premiering this weekend.  Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 38.  I would love to know what your favorite dog movie is and if you’ll give Max a chance.

Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by checking out our Instagram page at http://instagram.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

Pet Memorial Day and the Decision to Say “Goodbye”

Owning a pet sitting company is awesome.  I get to come into contact with all kinds of different animals and it is so much fun to be around them.  One of the few bad things is when one of them passes away.  It’s hard on me and I can see what it does to not only the families of the pets, but the other animals in the family.

Jack N

Jack enjoying a walk on the nature trail. He passed away in May.

Sunday, June 14 is World Pet Memorial Day, and I thought that was a good time to address something that I have seen several clients dealing with lately.  A couple of weeks ago, I lost 3 client dogs.  Two of them were 2 of the dogs that I care for the most.  In both of those situations, the owners had to make the hardest decision a pet owner has to make.  Has the pet’s quality of life deteriorated to the point where it’s time to say goodbye forever?  They both felt like it had, and without much hesitation, they had people come in and put the dog down.

I have seen other clients that may not have acted in the pet’s best interest.  Several times, we were called in to help them take care of a dog.  Most of the times they need help with a dog because cats are so independent or you never realize until too late how bad off the cat is.  In most of these cases the dog needed extra help that the client was not able to do physically or because it needed so much attention they got us involved.  To be fair, we got involved after things had already happened and I didn’t know the client, the pet, or the back story.  In these cases we are happy to help make things as good as possible for the pets.

Angela has been a client for about 3 years.  Her dog is Johnny, a greyhound she

Johnny on a walk

Johnny on a walk

rescued when he was 4 and half, 7 years ago.  When I first started taking care of Johnny, he was always pretty calm and laid back.  I’d walk him 4 times a day and he didn’t take too much encouragement to get going on the walk.  He loved to eat and was always ready for a treat.  In December 2012 he was diagnosed with cancer.  It was caught early on and that made the decision to treat it easier for her.  “It was the whole process,” said Angela.  “They would resect the tumor but he must have the treatment, too.  He had to have it all.”  The tumor was on his shoulder, so it was easy to get to.  He was going to have 15 weeks of chemo and radiation.  The doctors said typically you can expect about 18 months after this treatment program.

I walked him a few times while he was having these treatments and he didn’t look or act too different.  He was a little sluggish and may have needed a treat to get started but then he was fine on the walk.  However after 12 weeks, Angela noticed he was having some negative effects from the treatments and ended them.  “It was not worth him being miserable for the next 3 weeks.”

Johnny on a walk during his cancer treatments

Johnny on a walk during his cancer treatments

About a year and half ago, Angela had moved into a home that had a fenced yard.  In addition she adopted another greyhound, Payton.  Johnny loved having the companionship from Payton.  With the fenced in yard, they could play together off the leash.  It was so cool to me seeing Johnny run that much.  They would take off and run around the yard and it was quite impressive.

Johnny and his new pal Payton enjoying the winter sun after a few laps around the yard.

Johnny and his new pal Payton enjoying the winter sun after a few laps around the yard.

Johnny would get bursts of energy and run a few sprints, but then would go back to being his lazy self and be ready for a nap.      Angela says Johnny had run in more than 180 races in his career, which is a lot.  It’s very common for greyhounds to develop leg problems as they get older.  This spring he had been limping a bit.  I was taking care of him a little bit more as Angela was traveling.  His limp had been pretty bad during a visit I did with him in April.  Angela took him to have treatment on his hip.  After talking to the vet, they decided it may be his leg that was causing the pain, not the hip.  They had looked at some x-rays from earlier in the year that this doctor had not seen and they noticed something on the leg.  It was a form of bone cancer.  They weren’t sure what kind, because Angela didn’t want to do a very painful bone biopsy to a dog now 11 ½ years old.  “I wasn’t going to put him through that.”

The doctors wanted to amputate the leg to keep the cancer from spreading, but Angela wasn’t going to do that.  “I know my dog,” she said.  “After the surgery he would have looked at me and said what did you just do to me?”

His bad days had become more frequent than the good days and she knew he wouldn’t have long.  “The day before we said goodbye was one of his best days.  He was barking at birds and had a lot of energy.  But the next day he was really panting and he looked at me and said. ‘Let me go, Mom.’”

Angela feels good about the decisions she made with him.  She got 26 months after the initial cancer surgery, when they said 18 was best case.  Payton has had a tough time without him, but he just got a new brother, so he is getting a chance to show him the ropes.  She is also putting his memory to good use.  She has set up a page on justgive.org so people who loved Johnny can make a donation to his favorite charity.  It has already raised more than $1000 in just a few weeks.   20130127_223107

Everybody goes through different emotions with their pet when they are dealing with a terminal illness or just old age.  I’ve seen people spend a lot of money on treatments to keep the pet alive, but that may not have been in the best interest of the pet, because of the pain they were enduring.  I think it’s important to get some opinions from your vet and other people you trust who know the dog if you just can’t make the decision to say goodbye.  Sometimes, like Angela with Johnny, you just know it’s time.

Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by checking out our Instagram page at http://instagram.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

Injury Rehab for Pets

Could you imagine your dog rehabilitating with the same equipment used to rehab professional athletes who make millions of dollars a year?  It’s happening in Roswell.

When one of the Atlanta Hawks has a problem with an ankle or hamstring, they rehab in an underwater treadmill.  The one the Hawks have is one of only 3 underwater treadmills in Atlanta for human rehabilitation. 20130411_135902 There’s one for dogs at the Atlanta Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness Center in Roswell.   The center was opened in 2004 by Dr. David Flier, DVM, MS.  The center also houses the Veterinary referral surgical practice, where Dr. Flier performs surgery.  There is one other pet rehab center in the state, but this is the only one adjacent to a surgical clinic.  The company operates other surgical centers in Marietta and Woodstock.

Jonna Kanable20130411_140255 is one of the certified Canine rehabilitation practitioners on staff at the AARF and says the industry has been growing a lot over the past 10 years, but there are still a lot of pet owners that don’t realize what’s available to them.  She has plenty of equipment available to work with the dogs, but her favorite piece is the pool treadmill.  “It’s very effective,” Jonna said.  “It gets the most results over any other modality.”

This dog in the pool is Angel, a Golden Retriever with arthritis in her hips and has problems getting up. 20130411_140138 She has shown remarkable progress since she’s been coming to the pool.  “She comes in every week or so for a treatment and is doing a lot better.”  About 60% of their patients come in after surgery on their back, knees or other orthopedic condition.  The rest, like Angel are older dogs suffering from arthritis.

Allie is one of the dogs that had back surgery and needed to be sling walked to use the bathroom.  Her owner, Deb Baker, hired my dog walking and pet sitting service, Fetch! Pet Care to do that when she was at work.   Heather, our sitter, 20120802_101437would use a sling under her back legs to help her go outside.  Deb continued Allie’s rehab by going to the pool at the clinic.  “It was remarkable how she was able to recover from using the pool,” she said.  This was a more than a year ago and she doesn’t need us to do the visits anymore.

A friend of mine, Dee Hodges sent her French Bulldog, Sugar, to the clinic.  Sugar was paralyzed after suffering a ruptured disk.  She wasn’t aware of the clinic and didn’t get Sugar in there until several weeks after his surgery.  “I wish we started sooner,” Dee said.  “We saw some improvement.  The staff was very professional and very loving with Sugar.”  She used 6 underwater treatments and some cold laser as well.

The rehab for the dogs continues even after their therapy at the clinic concludes.  “We teach the owners things to do to increase the dog’s mobility, said Jonna.  She says the rehab is just like training a dog and consistency is very important.  20130411_140102

Technology and training are keeping athletes playing their sports longer and longer.  If you use a clinic like the Atlanta Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness Center and have a trainer like Jonna and her staff that has the latest in equipment and technique you’ll have your dog living a long, healthy, happy life.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/

Walking Your Dog in the Dark: Tips to Stay Safe

Now that we have had the autumnal equinox this morning, the days will be getting even shorter.  And with Daylight Saving ending on November 4, there will be even more darkness for you to walk your pet in.  Sunday morning the sunrise in Atlanta is at 7:45am, so you are likely walking your dog in the dark in the morning.   Here are a few reminders for things to be aware of when walking your dog in the dark.Image

   Wear reflective or light colored clothes.  You want to make sure others, especially drivers see you.  A reflective vest may be a good investment.  If most of your jackets are darker, slipping that vest over it is easier than buying a new, light colored coat. There are reflective jackets for pets too.  Plus there are a lot Imageof lighted leashes and collars.  These all work, but You’ll have to decide if your dog will wear the vest.

   I’m not a big fan of the retractable leashes at any time, but especially at night.  A car may see you, Imagebut if the dog is at the end of the leash, they may not see the dog.  A sitter in Phoenix was walking a dog at night in one of those situations.  The driver was looking out for the person and didn’t see the dog and hit it.  If you do use one of those leashes, you may want to use a collar that has reflective material on it.

Even if the area you walk your dog in is well-lit, you should carry a flashlight.  It’s easy to find a small, light flashlight that has a cord on it for you to loop around your wrist.  Not only will it help you see where you are going, you can make sure your dog is not doing something he shouldn’t.  Also, if a car approaches you, you can shine the light on the dog, to help the driver to see it.

Take your cellphone with you in case something happens, but don’t use it unless necessary.  It can be tempting to get on and check all the overnight emails and news, but you need to keep your focus on your dog when it’s dark.  There is a flashlight app for smart phones, but they tax the battery and a hand will have to be tied up holding the phone and your other phone will have the leash.  With the loop on the flashlight you won’t drop it if you need both of your hands for some reason.

Don’t wear headphones, for the same reasons as above.  Plus, you need to be listening for things because you may not be able to see them.  You may not see another dog out being walked and you may get to close to each other before you realize what has happened if you are distracted by headphones.

As I mentioned in my dog walking kit blog entry, it’s a good idea to carry a boat horn with you to scare off dogs that approach you and your dog.  Depending on the make up of your neighborhood, you may run into wild animals like a coyote.  A good  blast of the horn should send the animal on a quick retreat.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA.  You can follow us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

Cute Cats

Every month I spend a Saturday morning cleaning out the cat cages at the Humane Society of Cobb County.  I’m one of many volunteers they have that do the same thing on different days.  I do it for several reasons:  I know they need the help, the cats enjoy the socialization, and it’s good for me to spend the time with the cats.

 

Most of the animals in the building are cats.  They just don’t have room to keep a lot of dogs.  At the end of July there were 42 adult cats and 41 kittens.  As you can see there are all ages, colors, breeds and personalities there.  Some love attention and want you to pet them every time you walk past the cage.  Some get as far away as possible when you open the cage. 

They have 2 rooms that the cats run free in, and there about 2 dozen cages that cats are kept in. 

These cats are kept apart from the others for a variety of reasons, including a medical issue or a socialization issue.  Some cats from the same litter may be kept in a cage together.  I’m always compelled to take pictures of these cats.  My mother never liked cats so I was raised more of a dog person.  Since I’ve left home, I’ve been around more cats and have learned to like their personalities.  It’s been fun since I started pet sitting to see the different cats and their personalities that I’ve cared for.   I’ve kept cats in my home for clients when they’ve been away for long trips.  Still pictures don’t always do justice for the cats.  With a lot of the kittens all you get is a blur.

So I decided to shoot some video this time.  Of course, they are curious about the phone (camera) so they stop playing and watch me instead.  You can see it on my YouTube page.

The pictures are great for my Facebook or Pinterest pages. 

Hopefully some people will see how cute these cats are and go and adopt one or two.  It’s kind of sad because some of the cats have been there a long time and may never get to a loving home.   If you want to see more of the pictures I’ve taken go to the Cobb Humane board I’ve created on my Pinterest page.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA.  You can follow us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/.