Pets and Fireworks

      We have a holiday week coming up and many of you may be getting an early start on things by taking next week off.  While time off, cookouts and swimming trips may be a lot of fun for you; the week of July 4th can be very stressful on your pets, Imageespecially your dogs.  In my last blog post I talked about ways to keep your dog safe in the sun and heat of summer.  In addition to the heat and sun of Independence Day, many dogs are afraid of fireworks.  More dogs are lost around the 4th of July than any other time of the year.  People leave their dogs unattended in the back yard, and when the dogs hear the explosions, they get spooked, jump the fence and run off. 

      Most of the dogs that are affected by the fireworks are also scared of thunderstorms.  If your dog is anxious and nervous during thunderstorms, you can handle the fireworks situation in much the same way you do thunderstorms.  I talked to Xalina Babunovic, an animal behaviorist at the Dog School 101 in Marietta.  She said if you crate your dog during storms you should crate him when there are fireworks going off.  ImageAlso if you are leaving your dog alone and it’s usually crated when you are gone, crate it when you leave.  Regardless of if the dog is left crated, she advises you to leave some sort of loud background noise on, like music or the TV.   The room should be kept dark as well.  If you use a thundershirt, go ahead and put it on the dog.  Xalina doesn’t recommend leaving the pet with the thundershirt  on because if the dog get agitated it may try and get out of the shirt

     If you haven’t tried a thundershirt for your pet you can find information here.  I’ve also linked a video that shows how easy it is to put them on. 

    It’s best if you will be at home to be with your pet.  Having you in the room will help put your pet at ease as well.  If you’re playing with it, that may be able to keep it distracted and it won’t focus as much on the fireworks. Image

     Another thing to remember if you are hosting a cook out and animals will be around is that you want to make sure the food is kept away from the animals, and any alcoholic beverages. 

     Make sure to have your pet’s chip information handy. In case it does get away, you’ll be able to identify it quickly.  I know most people have plenty of pictures of their pets, but you want to make sure you have a good one that shows its face and could be used on social media or flyers around the neighborhood.  Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with that situation, but you must be prepared.  Hopefully your preparations and responsible actions will mean a 4th of July holiday that will be enjoyed by everyone, your family, your friends, and most of all your pets.   Here is a link that the ASPCA provides on things to help ensure your pets have a happy and safe 4th of July.

   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 following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/  

 

    

Summer and Your Pets

 Today is the Summer Solstice and that means it’s the longest day of the year, but also the official beginning of summer.  If you live in the South, it’s already been hot, when it hasn’t been raining, so today just means it won’t be dark until after 9.  ImageYou’re used to the heat.  I thought this would be a good time for a reminder of some things to do to provide the best pet care for your dogs and cats this summer.

    Many of these are things you’ve heard before and are fairly common sense.  I hope I don’t have to tell you not to leave your pet in a car, ever, especially not now, even if the windows are down.  It’s too hot, even if it’s cloudy.  Even if it’s just for a second – don’t do it.   Try and avoid longer walks in the middle of the day.  ImageDo them in the morning or evening when it’s cooler and the sun isn’t as high.  Make sure they have plenty of clean, cool water.  Your pet supply shop or outdoor store should have a portable water bowl.  Make sure you take plenty of water, for you and the dog. 

     If they stay outside, make sure they have an area to be out of the sun.  Be careful with their paws on asphalt as well.  If that’s too hot for them, they will usually let you know.  Panting is normal for dogs.  That’s how they cool off.  If you have a dog that has a shorter snoot, it’s harder for them to breathe when they are very hot or tired.  Be sure and keep an eye on them and make sure they are okay, especially if you are going to be leaving them alone.  If you hear your dog making funny noises like wheezing or something, it may mean they are not getting enough air.  In that case cut the exercise short and get it to a vet. 

    Another thing to be careful of with your pets, especially dogs, is sunburn.  Pets can get sunburned.  Puppies, light colored dogs and dogs with shorter hair are Imagemore susceptible.  So that haircut you’ve gotten your dog, thinking that will keep them cooler, may put them at risk for sunburn.  The nose, ears, belly and groin are more likely to get sunburned because there is less hair there.  You shouldn’t be surprised that there is a pet sunscreen available.  Most people don’t recommend using the sunscreen you would use because it could contain toxins that they may lick off.  Check with your vet about what they think is best.

    The summer is a time for fun in the sun and it’s even more fun when the pets are included in the activities.  Just take a little time to prepare for the heat and the sun and you and your pets can make the most of the extra hours of sunlight!  

   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 following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/  

Dog Bite Prevention Week

     National Dog Bite Prevention Week starts on Sunday.  The American Veterinary Medical Association started designating a week to focus attention on dog bites and theirImage prevention.  Just how much of a problem is this in our country?  4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of those are children.  The Insurance Information Institute says dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2012 at nearly $500 million dollars.  The number of claims filed last year actually decreased by 1.4 percent.  Georgia ranks 9th in the US with 121 claims paid last year worth $3.3 million.  The US Postal service says that nearly 5900 letter carriers were attacked by dogs last year.  Atlanta doesn’t show up in the top 20 US cities for dog attacks on Postal Service Workers, but Los Angeles is number one with 69.

  Whether or not a dog will bite has nothing to do with the breed.  Any dog in any breed can bite. Image The friendliest Lab will turn aggressive if it’s chained to a pole and ignored all day.  Socialization of your dog with people at an early age is very important.  You should never leave a child alone with a dog.  Make sure your kids know not to disturb a dog that is eating or sleeping.   Avoid exposing your dog to people and situations that are unfamiliar to it so you don’t know how it will react.  If you’re thinking about getting a dog, talk to a vet or an animal behaviorist about what breeds work best with your household situation.  Do you have small children? Will the dog spend a lot of time alone?  These things are important in ensuring that your dog will be less likely to attack someone. 

    Don’t be afraid to keep people, especially children away from your pet when you are walking them.  A lot of times when our dog walkers are walking client dogs someone will come up and ask if they can pet the dog.  ImageVI tell the sitters to politely decline, telling them it’s not their dog and they are not sure how the dog will react.  Sometimes children may get a little bolder approaching a dog on a leash, but since the dog is on a leash and out of its comfort zone, it may be more on edge and more likely to attack.  The advice I give my sitters could work for you:  Be aware of your surroundings and eliminate the potential for trouble before it happens.  If you are walking your dog and there is a group of children or you see a dog off its leash, turn around or go a different way, so there won’t be any interaction. 

    Some of the links in this story have more tips to avoid dog bites.  Be sure and check those out and check in on my Facebook and Google + pages to see things I’ll have posted all next week.  Dogs are for fun and pleasure, but you must remember they are animals and you never know how they will react in strange situations.  Stay safe and don’t wind up as a statistic!

   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 following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/

National Pet Month

   Now that we are getting weather in Atlanta that feels a little like the way spring is supposed to feel, I’ve noticed dogs out about as much as the pollen.  As I drive to my dog walking jobs with Fetch! Pet Care, Image I see all sorts of breeds out with their owners.  May is National Pet Month, and many organizations are promoting adoptions so you can have a new pet to give you another reason to be outside and enjoy the nice spring weather.

      It may be as easy as ever to see some of the pets that need homes.  The Cobb County Animal control is having a big adoption fair at Jim Miller Park on May 18.  On June 9, an animal rescue fair at Willis Equestrian Park in Alpharetta is being billed as the largest pet adoption event in the Southeastern United States.  The Georgia Homeless Pets has pets it is trying to find a home for at Pet Smarts stores in Smryna and Austell. every weekend.  Of course, most days the Humane society of Cobb County Imageis open for you to come in and look for a pet.  They mostly just have cats because of the limited space there.  The Atlanta Humane Society has two offices: one on Howell Mill Rd. and one on Mansell Rd. in Roswell.  Most breeds have a rescue group in the Atlanta area or somewhere in Georgia.  There are too many other rescue groups in the metro Atlanta area to mention all of them, but many will be represented at the event at Willis Park. 

    The first thing about adopting a pet is making sure that everyone in the family is on Imageboard.  You may want to contact trainers about what breeds fit in with your family’s lifestyle and personality.  They can also tell you about what breeds may work better with kids.  If you’re not sure about if a pet will work with your family, you can foster a dog.  Many of the organizations that put pets up for adoption need foster homes.  You can get a pet for a while and see how it works.  Sometimes the foster pet is available for long-term adoption.  If it’s not, but you realize a pet will work in your home, you can get another one.  If you have kids, it may be beneficial for you to scout a few possible pets without the kids around and once you have narrowed down the animals, have the kids check them out.

   Maybe you’ve thought it would be a great way to spend a nice spring evening, walking the dog.  Or perhaps your kids have made that suggestion.  Pet ownership is great, but it does take work.  Of course you can hire a professional pet sitting company like Fetch! Pet Care to stop by and give the dog a walk, or clean out the cat’s box and play with it, (sales pitch) but you will want to do most of it yourself.  If you have been seriously considering adding a pet to your family, take advantage of these opportunities available the next few weeks to save a pet’s life and bringing new life to your home!

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 following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.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/

Is Your Pet Camera Shy?

       Is your pet camera shy?  Does it not like you to hide your face when you use a camera to take a picture of it? Image I take a lot of pictures of the pets my company cares for.  I love to get pictures of sitters when they are dog walking or pet sitting and I’ll use the pictures to let the clients know everything is fine with their pets.  I also use it to post on social media or in a blog post. 

     I’ve noticed that many pets will turn their heads even when I call their name.  The Lab I used to have did not like it when I would put a camera up to my face.  It’s a little easier with a camera phone because it’s not as big and you have a much bigger viewfinder.  I asked Xalina Labarge, an animal behaviorist and co-owner of the Dog School 101 about how dogs react when you have a camera covering your face. Image  She told that dogs become uncomfortable when they can’t see your eyes or your facial expression.  “Dogs react more to facial language than body language,” said Xalina.  “When they see something blocking your face, they don’t know how to react. “  It works the same way with sunglasses. When I’m meeting a new client and their dog for the first time, I make sure I take my sunglasses off so it can see me.  I want it to see me smiling and happy to be with the dog and it can read my face.

    So what can you do to get your pet to “smile” for the camera?  “Put the camera (lens cap on so it won’t get slurped) or the phone on the ground and let the dog smell it and determine that it’s okay,” said Xalina.  “Then when you hold it the dog won’t be worried about it and will let you take the picture.”  I hope this helps you getting some better pictures of your pet!

    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/

Pet First Aid Awareness Month

    The American Red Cross has designated April as Pet First Aid Awareness Week.  Would you know what to do if your dog is injured on a walk, or you find your cat has eaten something it shouldn’t have and has gotten sick?  Most pet owners have our vet numbers in our phone, but what if your vet office is closed or you are out of town with your pet?  I became certified in Pet First Aid and CPR Imageshortly after I opened my Fetch! Pet Care franchise.   I’ve already written a blog post  about what you need in your pet first aid kit.  You should also know the emergency vet clinic closest to you.  In my territory there are 3 emergency vet locations, in Cobb County and Cherokee County as well as in RoswellGeorgia Veterinary Specialists is in Sandy Springs off of Abernathy Rd.  Many in-home problems with pets have to do with poisoning, so you should also have a poisoning control number handy as well. 

     The American Red Cross offers pet first aid classes, although I couldn’t find any scheduled anytime soon in the Atlanta office. Image Pet tech is a company that also holds classes and you can find classes that are being offered on their website.  The classes are usually about 4 to 5 hours and the certification lasts for 2 years.  Most of my sitters have taken the class as well.  

    Another important item in being prepared to take care of your pets is to put Imagestickers on your doors to notify emergency workers how many pets are in the house.  The ASPCA will send you these stickers as well as a magnet with their poison control number on it. You can find where your pet’s secret hideout is by watching where it goes when you test your smoke alarms.  Each time you test it, check to make sure it’s going to the same place.  This is where you can go to rescue it if the need ever arises. Also you could tell emergency workers this in case of fire or something where you couldn’t get them yourselves. 

 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/

Spring and Snakes

    You may not believe it if you are outside very long today, but Atlanta is in store for a very pleasant weekend.  Many of you will be spending time with your pets outside or start working in the garden.  You may not be the only one looking to enjoy the warm temperatures and the sunshine.  Venomous Snakes of Georgia has sent out a notice that snake activity will be on the increase with the temperatures and the sun. Image

Pet owners should be careful when they walk their dogs through wooded areas and the dogs start to investigate away from the trails. 

    According to the group, the first snakes to emerge from hibernation are the smaller snakes because they can’t store as much as the larger snakes.  As you would expect, they say the most likely time to encounter a snake is in the afternoon, when the sun has warmed things up a bit.  They offer some great advice for reducing the likelihood of snakes around your home in their latest news release you can see here.

    Dogs are usually bitten on the head, neck and front legs because that’s what they investigate with.  Bites to the head and neck have a higher potential of being dangerous because they can affect the pet’s breathing. 

    If you do encounter a snake and you think your pet has been bitten, try and identify the snake.  DO NOT put yourself or anyone else in danger of a bite to do this.  If envenomization has occurred, the symptoms will be almost immediate.  A bitten dog will show signs of pain, swelling, bruising and oozing blood around two puncture wounds.  The dog may also appear nervous or depressed, weak and salivate or vomit.  The bite wounds may not be visible because of the dog’s coat.

     Muzzle your dog as soon as possible.  This is something you should keep in your pet first aid kit.  Keep an eye on its breathing and the muzzle may need to be loosened if it has a hard time breathing.  Get the dog to a vet right away so antivenin can be administered.  Snakebite kits don’t work, so don’t waste your time with that. 

     Enjoy the spring weather this weekend, but be sure to keep a close eye on your pets (and your family).  Remember that the best way to avoid problems is to be prepared and stay away from situations that could cause problems. 

    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/.

Be Classy, Dog Owners

 

    Dog owners know the joys of having a dog.  But there is a price to be paid for those joys.  The main one is that until someone learns to potty train dogs, you are going to have to take your dog outside to go to the bathroom.  And if you are a responsible dog owner, you know you have to pick up after your dog. 

     This seems to be a responsibility that more and more dog owners are neglecting and it is very unsettling to me.  As a professional dog walker, I spend a lot of time walking dogs in many different locations. Image I have clients that have a big back yard, and we just let the dogs out there to do their business.  But I have many clients that don’t have real big yards, and their dogs have to be walked and therefore, go to the bathroom, in public places.  I’ve seen more and more instances of dog owners not picking up after their pets.  Many counties and states have laws that require you to clean up after your dog, but these are being ignored.  I walk several dogs in townhome/condo/apartment complexes and these places usually have pretty strict rules about picking up after your dog.  Most of these complexes and even some neighborhoods of housesImage have stations around that have pick up bags on them, so the owners don’t have an excuse about not having a bag handy.  I will say that all of my clients either have a bag dispenser on their leash or have a bag of bags to use by the leashes for our sitters to use when they walk the dogs. 

    There are several reasons why it’s important for dog owners to pick up after their pets.  The first and most obvious is the health reason.  There are bugs, it can get washed into the water supply, it gets stepped in and tracked to other places, and other dogs are attracted to it.  Those are just a few I rattled off the top of my head.  Another one I think is important is that you should just do it because it’s the right thing to do.  You don’t win any friends among your neighbors when they see your dog do its business and you don’t pick it up.  It also causes a lot of friction among non-dog owners in the neighborhood.  Associations may impose severe restrictions on pets and their owners, so a few bad apples may spoil things for the people who do take care of their pets.  I have several friends who are pet owners in an apartment building.  There are a lot of dogs in the building, and there used to be a lot of places they could walk their dogs.  Now that area has been greatly reduced, and it’s caused some hardships for the pet owners, especially during inclement weather.  They have talked about taking a DNA sample of all the dogs in the property and if any poop is found on the grounds it will be tested.  The owner of the guilty dogs will be hit with a hefty fine and could even face expulsion from the complex.  I think it’s absurd that the situation has come to where they are even thinking about doing that.  If you have such a problem picking up after your dog, you should have never gotten one. 

      It’s easy to get bags to pick up after your dog.  All pet stores sell them.  Big Lots and the dollar stores have them pretty cheaply.  If you don’t want to pay for them, recycle the plastic bags you come across during the day.  Grocery bags will work, as will produce bags.  Also bags newspapers come in.  Many people tie bags to their leashes if they don’t have a bag dispenser.  Like I said my clients seem to be responsible owners but (Spoiler Alert!) I’ve already decided that’s what I’m giving as my gift to clients this Christmas. 

    I don’t like to rant or sound preachy, and most of the violators probably don’t read my blog, but I got fed up about this and decided to vent.  All you responsible dog owners, thanks for being that way and put some pressure on the people who you see who aren’t doing the right thing.  Offer them a bag! 

 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/.

National Pet Adoption Weekend

    This weekend is National Pet Adoption weekend.  ImageTwo of the largest pet supply superstores are taking a lead role in this.  Petco is having centers at its stores.  In the Atlanta area, the Georgia Homeless Pets will be at Petsmart stores in Smyrna, Austell and at the Bark Ave. Pet Resort in Smyrna.  The Georgia Homeless Pets folks are at those stores every weekend. 

     If you can’t make it by one of those places this weekend, there are several places you can go all the time to take home a rescue pet.  ImageThe Humane Society of Cobb County is a place I do a lot of volunteer work and they have a few dogs, but a lot of great cats of all ages.  The Atlanta Humane Society in Midtown or on Mansell Rd in North Fulton has dogs and cats available.  There are also many groups, like Mostly Mutts in Kennesaw that have pets for adoption.  If you are looking for a specific breed, most of them have a rescue chapter in the Atlanta area. 

    You can make a difference in a pet’s life even if you don’t take a pet home.  ImagePerhaps you can’t decide if it’s right for you to adopt a pet.  Several groups have fostering programs, where you take a pet into your home for a predetermined period.  If that works out, you can decide to keep a pet permanently.  Be aware that many times, the pet you are fostering may not be available for adoption, so know that in advance, so you won’t get too attached. 

   Adoption agencies usually do background checks on the people who adopt animals, so it may take some time before you actually get to take the pet home. Image Many of these pets have been taken from a bad situation, so you can understand how the workers want to make sure that doesn’t happen again. 

     If you just don’t want to have a pet in your home for whatever reason, but you still love Imagespending time with animals, all of these organizations need volunteers and supplies.  You can donate some time to make a difference in these animals’ lives and you’ll be surprised how much better they make your life too!

 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/.