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If you are a frequent visitor to our website, this is where you will find the latest information, updates and links. Want to add something to this page - email the info!

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Recommended Pet Sitters

February 2014 Newsletter - coming soon!

January 2014 Newsletter - 10 Commandments of Dog Training

December 2013 Newsletter - Feral Cats

November 2013 Newsletter- *New* Feline Vaccine protocols & Thanksgiving Leftovers

October 2013 Newsletter- Proper Dog Introductions & Keeping my Dog out of the Litterbox

September 2013 Newsletter - Scardy Cats

August 2013 Newsletter - Cat vs Vet

July 2013 Newsletter - Door Darting

June 2013 Newsletter - How to trim cats nails & Skunk Remover

May 2013 Newsletter - Come when called and Greener Cleaner

April 2013 Newsletter - Can't we just get along?

March 2013 Newsletter - Dogs behaving badly & Catnip

February 2013 Newsletter - Not best on leash?

January 2013 Newsletter - pet loss, allergy testing

December 2012 Newsletter - Bathing your dog, Anxiety in Cats

November 2012 Newsletter - cutting your pets nails

October 2012 Newsletter - How much water should my pet drink?

Summer 2012 Newsletter - Kitty Behavioral Problems

June 2012 Newsletter - How to remove a tick

May 2012 Newsletter - Pet Poison Prevention

April 2012 Newsletter - My Cat from Hell

March 2012 Newsletter - Walk & Trains

February 2012 Newsletter - Pet Dental Health

January 2012 Newsletter - News Years Resolutions and The Cats Resolutions

December 2011 Newsletter - Pet Sitter vs Kenneling

November 2011 Newsletter - Pet Therapy & Stress Relief and Thanksgiving Treats

October 2011 Newsletter - No Tricks, all Treats

September 2011 Newsletter - Dog Bite Prevention & Cat Tips

August 2011 Newsletter - Traveling Tips & Introducing a New Pet into Your Household

July 2011 Newsletter - Dog Days of Summer & Celebrating Safely with Your Pet

June 2011 Newsletter - Take your dog to work day

May 2011 Newsletter - National Pet Month

April 2011 Newsletter - Earth Day

March 2011 Newsletter - How to be a professional K9 Clean Crew member & Yard Care Tips

February 2011 Newsletter - Announcing K9 Cleanup

January 2011 Newsletter - News Years Resolutions for Your Pet

December 2010 Newsletter - Homemade Pet Treat Recipes

November 2010 Newsletter - Benefits of Coconut Oil

October 2010 Newsletter - How Old is Your Pet?

September 2010 Newsletter - Treating Your Home & Pet's for Fleas

August 2010 Newsletter - 10 Tips to Keep Your Pet Cool & Pet Friendly Uses for Vinegar

June 2010 Newsletter - Outdoor Car Enclosures

May 2010 Newsletter - Pet Friendly Places to Walk Your Dog

April 2010 Newsletter - Cutting your Pets Nails

March 2010 Newsletter - Behavioral Problems in Cats

February 2010 Newsletter - Pet Insurance & Brushing your pets teeth

 

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Red Cross

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Mourer Foster Specialize in Business Insurance. Professional United Pet Sitters Proactive Pet Sitter

 

Recommended Pet Sitters

miliies pet sitting serving Sugar Grove and the Presbury area.

January 2014 Newsletter
1) Thou shalt not pet, soothe, or share soft energy with a nervous, fearful, anxious, or aggressive dog. While this behavior can be useful when applied to humans who are distressed, when it comes to our dogs, they read these interactions as reinforcement and agreement of their distressed state of mind
2) Thou shalt not let your on-leash dog meet/interact with other dogs on-leash. Dogs on leash are almost always compromised behaviorally. They are either overly excited to meet the other dog, but are restrained by the leash and so then become highly frustrated and stressed, OR they're nervous, anxious, and unsure about the other dog, but are restrained by the leash and feel trapped, frightened, and stressed. Either response puts the dog into a stressed/anxious state where the dog is likely not to give his best behavior.
3) Thou shalt not let your dog pull you through thresholds, or pull you on leash. When we allow our dogs to pull us in any of the aforementioned capacities, we're creating several things that work against us. We teach our dogs to ignore us as a leader; we teach our dogs that pushy behavior does in fact get them what they want.
4) Thou shalt not let two dogs that are new to each other "work out" their relationship issues on their own. This one seems to come from the dark ages of dog training/ownership. By taking our time, removing excitement, stress and anxiety from the interaction, and giving some human guidance, we give our dogs the opportunity to assess the situation free of negative mental states that set them up for failure.
5) Thou shalt utilize the dog park at your (and your dog's) own risk. Dog parks are an awesome concept, in theory. The dog park in reality is often a place where overly-adrenalyzed/highly stressed, negative, anti-social, and out-and-out dangerous behavior is allowed to unfold on a regular basis, unaddressed and unattended to.
6) Thou shalt not use verbal or emotional intensity to control or correct your dog's unwanted behavior. This is a very easy one to fall into. As humans, when we find that we're not getting where we want with our dogs behavior wise, it tends to lead us to raised voices, posturing, and emotional intensity - all of which tend to undermine our communication, our relationship, and our status as leaders worth following in our dog's eyes. It also adds stress, anxiety, and fear to the equation, which only makes everything worse. It's much better to simply put a training collar and leash on your dog and quietly, and calmly create the desired behavior/effect.
7) Thou shalt not pick a dog who's physical energy is higher and who's state of mind is stronger than yours. When we pick a dog with either significantly higher energy levels than us, or a state of mind/demeanor/attitude that is much firmer/stronger, we begin a relationship that can be very challenging (and sad and frustrating) for both owner and dog, or in it's extreme instances, doomed to failure. High energy dogs living with lower energy humans can create dynamics of constant tension for both species.
8) Thou shalt not let your off-leash dog run up on a dog walking on-leash. Like we mentioned in the Second Commandment, dogs on-leash rarely act as they would off-leash, so the dog that is being run up on by your friendly dog is likely going to be frightened, stressed, worried, and feeling trapped, or excited and frustrated and feeling stressed - either one is very likely to create a negative reaction for that owner and his/her dog.
9) Thou shalt not (overly) baby, spoil, or humanize your dog. This one is usually the most common cause of behavior problems in dogs. Love is great. Affection is great. Enjoying and even celebrating our dogs is great! But sharing all of these in the absence of the balance of strong leadership, guidance, rules, structure, and consequences for unwanted behavior is, the great undoing of the dogs we love. It may not be as easy, as fun, and as self-fulfilling to actually have to balance love with discipline and rules, but it's what great dog ownership, and happy, healthy dogs (and kids!) are all about.
10) Thou shalt not mistake anxiety/excitement for happiness, and calm/relaxation for sadness. Oftentimes we see dogs in an overly-excited state (which is often actually stress/anxiety/adrenaline) and think they are experiencing joy and happiness. The problem with misreading this is that we can miss the signs that our dogs are practicing and building negative emotional and behavior habits, and that while in this state, they may engage in negative or even dangerous behavior. Just to be clear, there's nothing wrong with dogs having a great time, having fun, and being a little crazy now and then, but when owners see this as the preferred state, and when dogs live there consistently, it makes for unhappy, unbalanced dogs.

December 2013 Newsletter
I recently read an article in the October Costco Connection Magazine about the feral cat population and what we as consumers can do to help this over population epidemic. As I read the article, I was thinking "isn't Costco a store? Why do they care about feral cats?". By the end of the article I realized that they are trying to do their part to help with pet overpopulation.
Free roaming or Feral cats live in every neighborhood across the US. Some people assume we have feral cats because cat lovers feed them and they stay around. Actually that's incorrect - the feral cats will be around regardless if one person is providing food. So what can we do to help control the population? Many people assume if they call animal control, they will set traps and then find them homes. This is far from the truth. In reality almost 100% of all feral cats are euthanized and that comes at a high price to our local government. This is not a cheap option.
Instead look into a Trap Neuter Release (TNR) program that can help. Many TNR's will loan you traps along with instructions. Once you get a cat, it is taken in to their vet or shelter and then neutered and vaccinated. You then pick the cat up and return it where you found it.
By removing the cats ability to reproduce, you are making a huge impact on the feral colony. Feral cats typically live only 10 years so if you partner with a TNR, you can potentially eliminate a feral colony in 10 years.
Links: Feral Fixers
Anderson Animal Shelter
PURRS Naperville
If we ban together and support the local TNR programs, we can get a handle on this problem and also reduce the number of cats we euthanize annually.

November 2013 Newsletter
n September of 2013, the AAFP released new vaccine guidelines for felines. This is the first time the protocols have been changed since 2006! They have also suggested body locations of where the vaccine should be given, since there have been vaccine-associated sarcomas.

Vaccine Protocol from the Journal of Feline Medicine

In order to facilitate tumor removal if a vaccine produces a sarcoma, it suggests vaccinating even lower on the leg than in the 2006 guidelines. Respiratory virus vaccines should be given below the right elbow, rabies vaccines should be given below the knee of the right rear leg, and the FeLV vaccination should be given below the knee of the left rear leg. The panel also states that vaccinations should absolutely not be given between the shoulders or on the upper legs and hips. This is great news for the Veterinary community. Research is revealing that some vaccines have a longer duration of immunity than previously understood. Every cat has a different level of risk of exposure to contagious viral diseases. Even if you and your vet decide your cat doesn't need yearly vaccinations, please be sure to take him in for a checkup once a year -- or twice a year if he's a senior kitty -- to ensure that you have many happy years together. article courtesy of Paws and Effect

Thanksgiving Leftovers?
You have just baked a 20 pound turkey, mashed at least 5 pounds of potatoes and have more pumpkin than you know what to do with. Many of us "share" our human food with our furry friends, and with a some guidelines, you can share some wholesome tidbits with the family pets too.
1- Turkey - this is a great lean protein. Just remove any bones, skin and fat before giving to your pet
2- No Alliums - garlic, onions, scallions and leeks contain alliums and should not be given to any pets.
3- Mashed Potatoes - as long as they don't contain cream, gravy or alliums - potatoes can be given.
4- Grapes - steer clear of grapes and raisins.
5- Cranberry sauce - as long as its not the gelatinous, sugar laden canned version - small amounts are okay.
6- Xylitol - this is a big no no. Pets should never be given any food containing artificial sweeteners.
7- Mac & Cheese - as long as your pet can handle dairy, this southern staple is okay to share. 8- Chocolate - who really shares chocolate with anyone? Even if there really is leftovers of this, don't given any to your pet.
9- Green Beans - a delicious choice for your pet. At our home we call them GB's and my girls adore them.
Hopefully this gives you a better of idea of what is "safe" to share. But be warned, if your pet has a touchy tummy its best to look for thanksgiving leftover recipes and keep that food out of reach.

October 2013 Newsletter
Proper Dog Introductions
The other day I was talking with a couple of my girlfriends and one was complaining how she would love to walk her dog more, but gets bored walking alone. I suggested she walk with some other friends with dogs. Then the conversation turned to "How can we help the dogs get along?". Here are some tips from trainer Chad Culp.
First things first - make sure all parties are comfortable getting together. Only introduce one dog at a time. Each dog should be on a 6 foot leash. Meet in a neutral area, like a park. Stay calm and your dog will follow your lead.
Follow the Three Second Rule - Let the dogs meet for 3 seconds - one one thousand, two one thousand, three walk away. If there is any growling, teeth showing or any other uncomfortable behavior walk away earlier. Keep your voice upbeat and calm.
Once the dogs have completed the first 3 second meeting, walk away and allow the dog to forget a bit about the other dog for a minute or so.
Try meeting again, this time let them sniff each others behind (their version of shaking hands - completely normal in the dog world). If all goes well start your walk. The dogs don't need contact while walking together, they just need to be comfortable having the other dog around.
Here are some body language tips
No stare downs - we don't want the dogs makes eye contact. Just like when people to it to us - its intimidating and can cause problems.
Watch the tails. If the dogs tail it tucked, stiff or the only the tail is wagging. Cut the 3 second greeting short. They are not comfortable yet.
Watch their mouth and breathing. If the jaws are tight or one of the dogs is holding its breath - walk away.
Do the Three Second Rule every time your dogs meet, even if this become a walk you do everyday with another dogs. Sometimes our pups need a quick reintroduction.
Socializing (and exercising) with your dogs, keep them balanced and fulfilled. Plus it encourages us humans to stay more fit. If at anytime your dog isn't tolerating another dogs, walk away and consult with your trainer. If you need a referral to a trainer, let us know. We are happy to help.

Keeping you Dog out of the Litter Box
Its a gross habit that many dogs have, and they don't seem to think that raiding the kitty's litter box is any big. As their human, we beg to differ. Not only is it gross and potentially harmful to the dog, it can also be embarrassing.

We share our homes with kids, dogs, gerbils, cats and fish. And the very common question is how to make everyone happy. The dog will dash to the litter box if its not blocked off and the cat is now insisting that she no longer wishes for her box to be in the basement. Can't we all just get along?

Here are some tips and products to help make everyone a bit happier.

1- There are a huge array of baby gates on the market and many even have tiny doors in them so the cat doesn't have to climb over. This way you can block off a room so dogs larger than the kitty access door can't enter.

2- Another solution is using a cat door to access another room. There are even special door that have a access key the cat wears so that only she can use that door.

3- If you don't have another room or floor to dedicate to the litter box, can you put it up out of reach of the dog? Many of our client place the boxes on top of the laundry machines.

4- There are also many company's that create a litter box "condo" that either makes the cat go into a large box and turn a corner to get to the box. This way even if the dog can get his head into the cat door, he can't reach the box.

September 2013 Newsletter
Scardy Cats
This topic is pretty familiar in most cat households - "My cat is afraid of strangers in our home". The cat who normally is affectionate and social with the family, hides when "strangers" visits. As pet sitters we have tried many things. Here are some tips both from our staff and from Jackson Galaxy.

1- Don't let visitors ring the bell or knock on the door. Instead have them call you so you can meet them outside. Many cats are very afraid of the door bell and will hide no matter who rings it.

2- When a stranger visits your home. Give them treats to give to your cat. Even if the cat is hiding under the couch, have them drop the treats neat the couch.

3- Don't attempt to socialize your cat to the visitor on their first visit. The best thing you can do is nothing. Don't pull the scared cat out from its hiding place, don't chase the cat, just leave her be and let her get used to the visitors scent. We find that as we do more visits, the cats will come out on their own. Either curious or missing attention. Cats explore on their own time and terms.

4- Try a toy your cat likes. Just a short session of play can show your cat that the visitor is actually pretty fun. Try play just prior to your visitors arrival and continue as the visitor comes inside your home.

5- Try having your repeat visitor feed some of the meals and sit quietly nearby. No eye contact, just sitting having a quiet conversation with you.

6- Have your visitor leave something behind that smell of them (if they are a frequent visitor). This way the cat can get used to their smell and it becomes part of your household smells.

7- Does your cat have "safe" places to hing out? Like a cat tree or something high they can watch the visit from? Or if they like to be underneath stuff is there a tunnel they can watch from? By creating a safe place for them, it allows them to be more social on their terms.

Hopefully with these tips, your cat can become more comfortable and social when Visitors come over.

August 2013 Newsletter
Does Your Cat Dread the Vet?
Cats needs to see the vet just as often as dog - about once a year for a physical and any blood work. So many of our clients avoid the vet because their cat is so upset going. Below are some great to help make it easier on you and your feline friend.

1- Don't put off the inevitable. By waiting until the last minute to stuff your cat into its carried, you miss the 2 weeks you could be doing some prep steps to get her used to the crate.

2- Associate the crate with good things. Introduce the carrier as if it were another piece of furniture. Add the cat's bed or a few favorite toys and leave it in the cat's favorite room a few days prior to the appointment. Rather than an instrument of torture, focus on making the carrier a safe haven. This encourages the cat to explore without feeling threatened.

3- Enlist a friend for emergency transport. If there is no time to help cats get acclimated, sit the carrier on its end and place the cat inside. Gently place the cat inside, bottom first, and ask a friend to close the door. Then slowly lower the crate to the horizontal position.

4- Maintain peace at the Vet. The vets office can be scary, so cover the crate to reduce visual stimulation. You can also spray some pheromones likes Feliway to the bedding inside the crate. Studies have shown that these appeasing pheromones can have a calming effect on your cat.

5- Cat only days. When you call to set up your appointment see if your Vet has cat only days or times. This way there will be less barking dogs to upset her. Some vets even have a separate kitty entrance and waiting area.

July 2013 Newsletter
Door Darting
The #%^&# dog pushed passed me again! Does this sound familiar? My pup, Scout is very good at this game and makes me want to pull my hair out. I recently read some advice and have been trying to follow it with Scout.

Here is what we have been doing
1- Your dog has made the break and is now running from you. DO NOT CHASE! Instead grab a squeaky toy and head outside to catch the (insert expletive here). Once outside squeak the toy. When your pup looks, run the other way. If he chases you, let him have a corner of the toy and play some tug. Continue to squeak the toy and play with the pup all the while leading him back to the yard/house/car.
2- Reward - never punish. I know this is beyond frustrating. After 10 minutes you finally have your dog by the collar, but what ever you do - don't yell or punish your pup. That only tells him that you are no fun to ever come back to. Instead reward with a treat, game of tug, lots of praise (just use a high fun voice while you're calling him names).
3- Training - teach your dog to sit at the door and wait. Once given the release command then reward. If you pup knows something good happens when they sit and wait for that release - they are much less likely to dart out the door.
4- Barriers - if all else has failed. Try installing one of these to prevent him from pushing past you. I have one for our deck so my dogs can be on the deck but don't have free reign to dig up my yard. Works for kids too :-)

June 2013 Newsletter
How to Trim a Cat's Nails.
We have heard from many of our clients that they are afraid to trim their cat's nails or their cat just doesn't behave. Check out this video from Amy on how to trim your kitty's nails. Thanks Frosty & Lily for being out models.

Skunk Smell Removal
(courtesy of GettingOutside.com)
For ages, dog owners have struggled with getting that stink off their dog. Science has come to the rescue! The old wives' tale for getting rid of the smell is tomato juice. Don't do it! You'll end up with a skunked dog that also smells like tomatoes. And chances are she'll get that tomato juice all over the place before you can really rinse it all out of her fur. Yuck. All it takes is some hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and soap. These ingredients neutralize the chemicals in the skunk's spray. The recommended proportions are below. Of course, it's best if you do the cleaning right away. So roll up your sleeve, put on some latex gloves and get to it.

Skunk Stink Removal Recipe
In a plastic bucket (not metal), mix the following ingredients thoroughly: 1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide 1/4 cup of baking soda 1 tablespoon of liquid dish washing soap (Ivory is recommended) For very large pets you can double the recipe (recommended) or you can add one quart of lukewarm tap water to provide complete coverage.
Wash your dog thoroughly, working the solution deep into the fur. Make sure you really saturate the areas where she took the direct hits. Your nose knows. Skunks usually aim for the face, but try to keep the solution out of her eyes, as it can sting. Keeping a bottle of pure water nearby to rinse the eyes is a good idea.
Leave the solution on for at least 5 minutes or until the odor is gone. You may need to rinse and repeat with some of the more stinky areas. After you're done, thoroughly rinse your pet with lukewarm water. Pour the remaining solution down the drain while running water.

Precautions for Safe Skunk Smell Neutralization
The reason you cannot buy this solution in the store is that it cannot be stored in closed bottles due to the chemical reaction of the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. The pressure builds up until the container bursts. NEVER store the mixed solution in a closed bottle, sprayer, etc. It's possible for this to cause severe injury. Make sure you ONLY use 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. Your drug store should have this. If you have old hydrogen peroxide in your medicine cabinet, forget it. Buy new bottles at the drug store or supermarket. Use BAKING SODA - NOT baking powder and especially NOT washing soda (Sodium Carbonate). Baking soda is also called: Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, U.S.P., Bicarbonate of Soda, and Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate. Soap - Ivory liquid is the best soap for the job... or Soft soap... You're looking for a gentle cleaning soap. Do not use grease cutting dish soaps or shampoos.

May 2013 Newsletter
As with any training, recall is all about putting a routine into your dogs day which he enjoys taking part in. Recall should never mean "if I run back to my owners, she'll put me back on leash" but always, "if I run back to my owner, it's usually worth my while". With adult dogs, all recall training is easier done using a long line, which is dropped on the ground & dragged behind the dog. Never go from a short leash, to no leash. Instead use a long line which gives your dog freedom, without you losing control.

First, pick a recall command (not your dog's name) and only use it when the dog is either running towards you, or can be enticed towards you because you are worth running to (what reward are you offering?).

Only call your dog to you when you are sure he will come back, or you can bring him back or go to get him. Don't waste your recall command, no point in calling if he's ignoring you.

Always make it worth your dog's while to come back to you, at first using food or his favorite toy. Surprise him with the reward, sometimes use his boring food kibble, sometimes using real chicken, liver, hot dog, cheese. Always keep him guessing & deliver the reward in a fun way. Don't just push it into his mouth. Toss it, drop it or roll the food/toy.

When first training recall on a long line, give & expect 100% attention. This means that even if he's only on the long line for 2 minutes, during this time you are playing with him. This way, he's really paying attention to you & enjoying his time as the most fun he has on a walk. If you cannot watch your dog, he should be on a short leash.

Invent games to keep your dog thinking "it's always worthwhile to check in with mum/dad". Any voluntary engagement by the dog should be rewarded. Use tasty treats & toss or roll them on the ground. Take out his favorite toy & play for a short period when he's not expecting it. Drop some food then quickly run away calling his recall command. When your dog catches up, drop some more food & run away again. Teach your dog that the quicker he comes back, the quicker he'll get to resume what it was he was doing before you called him. This improves speed of response & enthusiasm & means you don't always need to use a food or toy reward.

The quickest way to teach a dog not to come when called, is by allowing him to run up to & play with every dog he sees. This is confirming in his mind that you are less fun than other dogs who are always worth investigating. When you see another dog, always teach him to sit & not leave you until you release him.

Remember just because your dog is friendly, does not mean the other dog is. It is my belief that if your dog does not have a reliable recall, regardless of the distractions present, he simply should not be off leash. Thankfully, it's also my belief that every dog can be taught a reliable recall so that, where appropriate, they can run free. This is, after all, the biggest reward you can give any dog.

Greener Cleaning Options
Several years I decided to ditch the heavy smelling, chemical cleaning products. My thought was that my pets are close to the floor, lay on the floor and when they lick their fur and feet, they are potentially ingesting these toxins. I wasn't being a very good pet parent if I didn't look for a better option. I started buying the "greener" products and they seemed to work fine, but they are more expensive than the chemical based products and they rarely are on sale or have coupons. I did a bit of research I found these recipes:

Gorgeously Green All-Purpose Spray
32-ounce plastic spray bottle
2 cups water
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure castile soap (peppermint is a favorite)
3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
20 drops tea tree oil 20 drops of lavender or lemongrass essential oil

Simply fill a large 32-ounce plastic spray bottle with the water. Add the vinegar, castile soap, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil and lavender or lemongrass essential oil. Lavender is lovely for the bathroom spray and lemongrass for the kitchen, so make two separate bottles at the same time. In the hot summer months, add about 10 drops of citronella essential oil to the spray, as it is an excellent insect repellent. This spray is suitable for acrylic, ceramic tile, wood, marble and granite.

Window Cleaner:
3 Tbsp. vinegar
1/3 tsp. pure liquid vegetable soap (like castile soap)
2 cups water

Pour each ingredient into a recycled spray bottle, and you'll be cleaning green in no time!

April 2013 Newsletter
Can't we all just get along?
Jacqueline Munera, CCBC, PCBC, CAP 2

Can cats and dogs really get along and thrive in a household together? I recently attended a webinar by cat behaviorist, Jacqueline Munera and learned so much that I want to share with you. Yes, cats and dog can get along and live together. Each pet has certain needs and if they are met, they can successfully get along.

First impressions really do set the tone for getting your pets to get along. Cats tend to meet other cats they know nose to nose, then trail down the body to smell each other. Dogs on the other hand see face to face contact differently. It can be seen as aggressive or threatening. Things not to do: Just let them work it out - This will not work for major issues, the problem will escalate and can lead to injury. The longer you let this continue, the harder it will be to resolve the issue. Force interactions - can cause negative associations Punishments - can increase stress. Initially a loud noise to interrupt the behavior can stop the problem but it causes a negative association and increases the stress. It also doesn't teach the pet what to do instead. That's where training comes in. Foundations for Success Early socialization experiences (puppies 3-12 weeks old and cats 2-9 weeks) Adult pets can be more accepting of juvenile pets. Compatible personalities of your pets human element - making the time,having patience and being persistent. Behavioral medication with the help of a trainer or vet. Prevention and Solutions Compatibility helps - species, age, personality/temperament, previous socialization and training. meet species needs - both physical and mental. set up the home environment for safety. Create vertical spaces or even cat/dog free zones. Place cat boxes and food in safe places. Respondent conditions - good things happen (treats/attention/toys) when the other pet is present. Operate conditioning - train the behavior you want (positive reinforcement). Training "games" you can play Look game - cat looks at dog, treats follow. dog looks at cat, treats follow. Looking at each other = good things. Training Video Leave it- this isn't just for dogs. Cat can learn this also. Once they learn this command, you have more control over stopping negative behaviors. Recall/name game - call name and when pet comes to you, reward. Cats can do this do and can help if you cat tends to harass the dog. Go to place - this is where they go to relax and is their space. My own pets "go to bed" and know good things happen when they go. Training Video Crate training - for your cat I would love to hear feedback on how you used these tips and the outcome.

March 2013 Newsletter
Dogs Behaving Badly
When Michael Baugh CPDT-KA CDBC Lots of dogs hump. For people who live with those dogs, it can be embarrassing and upsetting. We humans aren't comfortable talking about things related to sex, especially when our beloved dogs are being indiscreet in front of guests. For many of us, dogs are cute innocent "babies." I guess now is a good time to remember they're also animals, and animals routinely practice behavior related to their own survival. That includes sexual behavior: humping. What baffles a lot of people is that dogs hump in situations that have nothing to do with reproduction. I have a client whose 4 month old female puppy humped a stuffed animal. We caught our dog Stewie humping his bed. Dogs hump human legs. Doggie daycare professionals deal with humping dogs all day, males and females, neutered and spayed. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.

What's going on here? I asked trainer educator and author Jean Donaldson (The Culture Clash, Train Your Dog like a Pro). She zeroed in on Modal Action Patterns. Those are the behaviors all dogs share related to fighting, fleeing, feeding and reproducing. She said, "All of the Modal Action Pattern categories are present in play. That's what play is." Social animals, including dogs, routinely play fight and play chase. They even pretend to stalk and hunt, so we shouldn't ignore the idea that humping might be play sex. However, that may not be the whole story of humping. While humping is common in play groups and day care settings, it also occurs in other contexts. Some dogs hump people and inanimate objects. Sugarland Veterinary Behaviorist Dr. Lore Haug says most of the time humping is "merely a nonspecific sign of arousal." Trainers and day care counselors agree. Dogs get wound up or nervous and they hump. Pamela Johnson is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer in San Diego. Her dog used to hump her leg during training sessions. She videotaped the behavior and noted that the humping was caused by excitement over training and frustration when the lesson got difficult. Still, identifying what sets off the behavior doesn't fully answer the question: Why humping and why not some other behavior? We should keep in mind that anything our dog does regularly is reinforced behavior. The dog is getting something out of it. For example, dogs who wrestle or chase during play are reinforced by other dogs who enjoy wrestling and chasing. Similarly, dogs might enjoy the attention they get for humping. Humping may also relieve a dog's anxiety in an uncertain social situation. It may just be pleasurable. That pleasure, says Dr. Haug, "obviously would come under the sexual category." So, we're back to that uncomfortable subject. Regardless, all of this information leads us to some good ideas about stopping humping. Make humping no fun and not a big deal. This really means we need to control our own behavior and not react when we see our dog humping. Don't accidentally reinforce the behavior by freaking out. Control the Dog's environment. In the case of the client's dog who was humping the stuffed toy and in the case of our own dog humping his bed, we simply removed the objects of their affection. People who work at doggie day care facilities calmly and gently remove a humping dog from its playmate. In all cases, the dog can't practice the unwanted behavior anymore. Teach the dog a better behavior. For the client's dog and Stewie we replaced humping objects with more appropriate enrichment toys (Kong Toys and other treat puzzles). In daycare, counselors might direct a humping dog to a less disturbing play behavior. Trainer Pamela Johnson greatly decreased her dog's humping by interrupting it and taking a short break from training. She held and petted her dog until he calmed down, then she returned to training less-frustrating tasks. In all cases, the handler is teaching the dog to do something other than hump. That's the bottom line really. Stay calm. Interrupt the humping. Encourage the dog to do something else, anything else. I might choose some of those other Modal Action Pattern behaviors, like a game of tug, or fetch, or even some nice quiet time with a chew toy. The humping one - not many of us really want to see our innocent little dogs doing that. Sure, it's normal animal behavior. But don't forget, we're only human.

Catnip

While cats are normally viewed as models of sophistication, catnip is one of the few things that will break that façade of nobility, and besides the entertainment factor, this perennial herb is also a powerful tool used to resolve behavior problems. What's in Catnip that makes cats go crazy? It's believed that catnip mimics pheromones, resulting in a psycho-sexual response that affects both male and female cats. Herbal blends of catnip, however, have succeeded in capturing the majority of cats who do not normally respond to catnip. Mixtures that include chamomile, honeysuckle and other herbs are among the most popular. "About half of the cats that don't react to catnip will react to a catnip blend that contains valerian root," Pascal Bedard, owner of From The Field Catnip can be used to modify bad behavior SuperCat recently introduced Catnip Stickers which are smaller pieces of microencapsulated "scratch and sniff" stickers. Their Catnip Markers and Catnip Stickers are also excellent for redirecting problem behavior. For example, application of microencapsulated catnip to a scratching post could make it more attractive than a new sofa or slippers. Catnip Spay (also made by Super Cat) can be used to refresh older catnip toys so that cats are more likely to play with those toys again. Keeping you cat active through toys and games can help keep your kitten happy and healthy. "The regular availability of catnip and cat toys in general can reduce the stress of living in a household and prevent unwanted behaviors, such as swiping at moving feet, that occur when cats are given no outlet for their instinctive desire to stalk, chase, and capture prey," Cohrs said. You can sprinkle fresh catnip onto scratching pads to encourage good nail care. Cats need to "shed" outside layers of their nails to maintain good paw care.

February 2013 Newsletter
Not the best on leash?
When you are out walking your pooch and you encounter another dog/bicycle/kids/etc, does your pooch pull on the leash, bark and essentially embarrass you? Dogs that display these kinds of behaviors are actually very stressed by the situation and this is their way of telling you "Hey Mom, the noise that bike makes, freaks me out!".

So what can you do?
1- Avoid the situation If you dog reacts to kids, stay away from park areas when you are likely to see kids. If you are out walking and see another dog coming your way, turn around, take another route or even cross the street to minimize the stress. Try to avoid the stress that triggers your dogs behaviors as much as you can.
2- Redirect your pup From puppies, I teach my dogs the "touch" command. I hold my hand out in front of them and say "touch". When they put their nose to my hand they are rewarded. As they get better at the command I move my hand around and have them do different touch heights, different hands and angels. This way if my dog is misbehaving, all I have say is "touch" and they will turn to my hand to play this game.
3- Find it! Another way to redirect is the Find it game. Take a small handful of treats/kibble and throw on the ground and says "find it". This directs your pets head to the ground in a game of looking for their favorite reward. This is also a great training game to play when you have guests at the front door and want to keep your pup from jumping on them.
4- Practice makes perfect Now that you have a couple ways to deal with your stressed pup when out on a walk - practice, practice, practice. With positive reinforcement from you, your dogs behavior will improve.

January 2013 Newsletter
8 Tips for Coping with Pet loss by Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed.

Anyone who considers a pet a beloved friend, companion, or family member knows the intense pain that accompanies the loss of that friend. Following are some tips on coping with that grief, and with the difficult decisions one faces upon the loss of a pet.

1. Am I crazy to hurt so much? Intense grief over the loss of a pet is normal and natural. Don't let anyone tell you that it's silly, crazy, or overly sentimental to grieve! During the years you spent with your pet (even if they were few), it became a significant and constant part of your life. It was a source of comfort and companionship, of unconditional love and acceptance, of fun and joy. So don't be surprised if you feel devastated by the loss of such a relationship.

2. What Can I Expect to Feel? Different people experience grief in different ways. Besides your sorrow and loss, you may also experience the following emotions: Guilt may occur if you feel responsible for your pet's death-the "if only I had been more careful" syndrome. It is pointless and often erroneous to burden yourself with guilt for the accident or illness that claimed your pet's life, and only makes it more difficult to resolve your grief. Denial makes it difficult to accept that your pet is really gone. It's hard to imagine that your pet won't greet you when you come home, or that it doesn't need its evening meal. Anger may be directed at the illness that killed your pet, the driver of the speeding car, the veterinarian who "failed" to save its life. Depression is a natural consequence of grief, but can leave you powerless to cope with your feelings.

3. What can I do about my feelings? The most important step you can take is to be honest about your feelings. Don't deny your pain, or your feelings of anger and guilt. Only by examining and coming to terms with your feelings can you begin to work through them. You have a right to feel pain and grief! Someone you loved has died, and you feel alone and bereaved. You have a right to feel anger and guilt, as well. Acknowledge your feelings first, then ask yourself whether the circumstances actually justify them.

4. Who can I talk to? If your family or friends love pets, they'll understand what you're going through. Don't hide your feelings in a misguided effort to appear strong and calm! Working through your feelings with another person is one of the best ways to put them in perspective and find ways to handle them. Find someone you can talk to about how much the pet meant to you and how much you miss it-someone you feel comfortable crying and grieving with.

5. When is the right time to euthanasia a pet? Your veterinarian is the best judge of your pet's physical condition; however, you are the best judge of the quality of your pet's daily life. If a pet has a good appetite, responds to attention, seeks its owner's company, and participates in play or family life, many owners feel that this is not the time. However, if a pet is in constant pain, undergoing difficult and stressful treatments that aren't helping greatly, unresponsive to affection, unaware of its surroundings, and uninterested in life, a caring pet owner will probably choose to end the beloved companion's suffering. Evaluate your pet's health honestly and unselfishly with your veterinarian. Prolonging a pet's suffering in order to prevent your own ultimately helps neither of you. Nothing can make this decision an easy or painless one, but it is truly the final act of love that you can make for your pet.

6. What should I tell my children? You are the best judge of how much information your children can handle about death and the loss of their pet. Don't underestimate them, however. You may find that, by being honest with them about your pet's loss, you may be able to address some fears and misperceptions they have about death.

7. Will my other pets grieve? Pets observe every change in a household, and are bound to notice the absence of a companion. Pets often form strong attachments to one another, and the survivor of such a pair may seem to grieve for its companion. Cats grieve for dogs, and dogs for cats. You may need to give your surviving pets a lot of extra attention and love to help them through this period. Remember that, if you are going to introduce a new pet, your surviving pets may not accept the newcomer right away, but new bonds will grow in time.

8. Should I get a new pet right away? Generally, the answer is no. One needs time to work through grief and loss before attempting to build a relationship with a new pet. If your emotions are still in turmoil, you may resent a new pet for trying to "take the place" of the old-for what you really want is your old pet back. Children in particular may feel that loving a new pet is "disloyal" to the previous pet. A new pet should be acquired because you are ready to move forward and build a new relationship-rather than looking backward and mourning your loss. When you are ready, select an animal with whom you can build another long, loving relationship-because this is what having a pet is all about!

Does Your Pet Have "Allergies"?

Dr. Jean Dodds and Nutriscan recently developed a new saliva pet food allergy test. This at-home test lets dog owners send in saliva sample to receive results, rather than going to a vet for pet food allergy testing Does your dog have itchy skin or an irritable bowel? Do you suspect your dog has a food intolerance? Food intolerance or sensitivity is actually quite common whereas food allergy is rare. In fact, food intolerance is the third most common sensitivity condition in dogs and often can be easily remedied with a change in diet. For years, though, the difficulty lay in figuring out what foods were problematic - until now. Please remember, NutriScan is novel and patented and is not testing for food allergies, but rather tests for food sensitivities and intolerance. These are different body immune responses. Food allergy is a more immediate reaction mediated by production of IgE and IgG antibodies. Food sensitivity and intolerance, by contrast, measures a more delayed body response to offending foods by measuring production of IgA and IgM antibodies primarily in mucosal secretions from the bowel. NutriScan is conveniently split into two test panels, so you can order one or both.

for more information visit http://nutriscan.org/

December 2012 Newsletter
Bathing your Dog at home

This holiday season you'll have family visiting, parties you host at home and neighbors stopping by. As you clean your house, you realize the smell isn't your home - but the dog.

Time for a bath. Before the bath: Brush your dogs coat thoroughly and remove all tangles and mats. It's a good idea to trim and file a dogs nails before a bath, especially if the dog might claw or scratch the floor, tub or you in an attempt to get away. You'll get wet, so wear a smock or old comfortable clothes. Pick a suitable location for the bath, such as a room with a closed door. This will prevent the dog from escaping and will also keep the rest of your house from getting sprayed with water. Gather your supplies: shampoo, brushes (you may want to use a shampooing brush), comb, washcloth and/or sponge, towels, etc. You may wish to put a few small tasty treats in a plastic baggie so that you can reward your dog for good, calm behavior. A detachable shower spray nozzle makes washing and rinsing much easier. Use a shampoo formulated for dogs, and one that is gentle and will not strip the natural oils of the dogs coat. Do not use human shampoo. Place a nonskid rubber mat in the basin or tub. This will prevent slipping and make the dog feel more secure.

During the bath Make sure water is warm but not hot. Get your dog used to the water by spraying his back and shoulders. Keep the spray on low. Try to keep the spray nozzle about an inch from the dog so that the water efficiently penetrates the fur. After your dog relaxes, wash his head. Never spray water directly in a dogs face. Slightly lift his face so that the water runs down the back of the head. Use your fingers, a washcloth or sponge to move the water around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Lather up the body with shampoo. You can apply a line of shampoo along the dogs back and back of the head. Massage the suds all the way down to the skin. Remember, you can reward good behavior by giving your dog a few treats during the bath. After thoroughly lathering, rinse the dog with lukewarm, never hot, water. Rinse until the water runs clear so that no dirt or soap residue remains.

After the bath: Use your hands to squeeze excess water from his fur. Start by squeezing water from the tail and paws. Wrap the dog in a large, absorbent towel. Gently rub him dry. You can let him help by letting him shake his fur.

Between baths: Brush and comb daily. Check for fleas, ticks, debris, foxtails and skin conditions. To give your pet a waterless bath, sprinkle on baking soda and brush off the excess. And remember, you can also have a professional groom and bathe your dog.

Scaredy Cat???

So many clients tell us that their cat hides or is a "Frady Cat" and inquire if there is anything that can be done to make the cat less anxious. Common Scaredy Cat Concerns You might be worried that your cat could be unhealthy or injured. You might be concerned that your cat is insecure, anxious, or depressed. You might be at your wit's end because it seems like the skittishness is permanent and you get startled every time the cat gets startled. You're tired of frayed nerves. You're afraid that you won't be able to deal with it much longer and you feel helpless because you don't think it will ever change. Someone else in your family can't deal with your skittish kitty and may be threatening to harm your her or to give her away.

These are all common and legitimate concerns. Let's ease these concerns by first identifying the signs of a skittish cat. It may be hard to believe right now, but there are many things you can do to manage a skittish cat and make your household more relaxed.

Understanding Your Skittish Cat Sometimes genetics dictates the skittishness in a cat. They inherited it from their bloodline. Sometimes a cat might be calm for a few years and develop scaredy cat syndrome later in life. That too may be genetic. Or there may be one or more events that turn a calm cat into a chronically nervous one.

Genetics Or Fear? Fears - strangers, storms, objects, new environments, new routines, new furniture, old furniture arranged in a new pattern, new litter box, litter box moved, etc...

Causes - genetics, insecurity, poor treatment, misguided training, pain, health issues, territory threatened, loud noises such as fireworks, sudden movement, playmate is skittish, new family member (animal, child, or adult), mishandling or teasing by children, bad outdoor experience, cat was abused by previous owner, cat is currently being abused though you might not have witnessed the abuse, had one or more terrible experiences during it's imprint years (first 8 weeks), illness, injury, anxiety, etc...

Pain avoidance & self-preservation Like people, cats avoid pain. Fear is a natural survival mechanism that is built into all of us. It's part of the fight or flight response that kicks in when we or any mammal feels threatened. When threatened, your cat's body is poised to fight or run away as a part of her self-preservation instinct.

Adrenaline is released into the body fight or to flight moment. It's not something we can train her not to do. She may grow calmer over the years and she may not react quite as much, but she will always retain the ability to defend or flee at a moment's notice.

How To Manage A Scaredy Cat 1. Safe and quiet environments are a must. Even calm cats can't tolerate a loud and busy living space. 2. Gentle handling. Teach your children how to handle your cat. 3. Let your scaredy cat know that she is a welcome member of the family. Spend quality time with her. Daily interaction including petting and play. Groom them frequently. Let them snuggle with you every day and night. Purchase cat furniture and a wide variety of safe cat toys so they can lounge around in comfort and get some daily recreation. 4. Make sure your cat has a safe room to retreat to and sleep in both during the day and during the night. Cats need alone time where there is peace and quiet.

Helpful Tip: If interaction makes her even more skittish, don't force it. Let her be until she's ready to interact. Watch her tail and ears. If her tail is swishing back and forth or if her ears go back, it means she's getting anxious. You can also introduce calm friends and family to her. Show her that not all people cause anxiety and that new people like to play, give treats and TLC.

Things To Avoid With a Fraidy Cat Avoid yelling or scolding Never physically punish Don't verbally punish Steer clear of emotional punishment Refrain from devising consequence punishment I hope these tips help and you can help your shy/anxious cat become calmer and more relaxed.

November 2012 Newsletter
Every Sunday we do "paw-decures". My girls get their nails cut, dremeled and then the excess hair shaved from between their pads. I keep the experience positive and provide treats for being so good. But this was not something that happened over night. It took time. Keeping your pet's nails short and their paws clean is very important.

When a pets nails are too long, it impacts how they walk and overtime could damage the paw. I recommend starting a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly ritual of cutting your pet's nails and cleaning their paws. There is no set rule that you have to cut all the pet's nails in one sitting.

Below are some links demonstrating nail clipping

Dog Nail Trims

Cat Nail Trims

If your dog suffers from allergies, many vets will recommend foot baths. Below is a link featuring Dr. Karen Becker.

Foot Baths

If you are not comfortable cutting your pet's nails, please take them to a groomer or vet. If you need a recommendation for a Groomer or a Vet, please send us an email. We would be happy to share the contact information of our favorite Pet Professionals.

October 2012 Newsletter
How much water should my pet drink?

I recently read an article that The Honest Kitchen published regarding moisture content in dry pet foods. This got me thinking, how much water is normal for your pet to ingest?

Holistic Vets are suggesting that pets fed a dry kibble based diet, are at risk for becoming chronically dehydrated. The reason is animals need moisture to digest their food. If your pet isn't drinking enough water throughout the day, the dry kibble will rob the pets tissues of moisture as its digesting.

Since cats originally were desert animals, their DNA is programmed to get the moisture needs for them, from their food. Keep in mind that these ancestors were consuming fresh, raw meat. Today we are feeding out cats a dry kibble and its robbing them of good health.

For dogs that are prone to bloat, they should consume a very moist food. Bloat is a serious and often fatal issue. So what can we do about this?

1- always have fresh, clean water available to your pets. For cats, really think about getting a fountain type water dish.

2- if you do feed a kibble based diet, add water to the food prior to feeding. Let the food sit for a few minutes and really swell with the moisture.

3- add canned food, to your pets diet. You can either start by giving a meal a day of all canned food, or start incorporating it into the dry kibble/water meal.

4- consider a homemade or raw diet for your pet. I personally feed a raw diet to my dogs and their water intake is so much less than our kibble based guests.

How much water should my pet be drinking?

Your pet should consumer 1/2 - 1 oz of water per pound of body weight. My lab weighs 54 pounds so she should consume about 27 -54 ounces of water a day, depending on activity level and moisture content in her food

How can I tell is my pet is dehydrated?

If your pet is really reluctant to drink more water and they still remain dehydrated, its time to really reevaluate their meals. I know I feel icky when I'm dehydrated, imagine how your pet feels. Get more water and make your pet happier.

Summer 2012 Newsletter
Curbing Destructive Kitty Behaviors
I recently sat thru a great webinar with Certified Animal Behaviorist, Kateena Jones, about Cat Behavior problems. It was a ton of information and very insightful, so I thought you would appreciate the cliff notes.

The 2 most common kitty behavior problems are: Destructive Scratching & Litter Box Trouble
I'm going to discuss each of these and the solutions Jones recommends.

Destructive Scratching

Take note of what type of surface your cat is scratching.

Where is the scratching happening?

So why is this happening?

What can I do about it?

Litter Box Issues

First things first. You MUST rule out a UTI with your cats Veterinarian. UTI's are usually characterized by frequent trips to the box, lots of licking, straining when they go, it has a bad smell, their personality changes or you find them laying on cold surfaces. Once you rule out health issues, you can move on to solutions for the behavioral problem.

FACT: dirty litter boxes are the most common cause of cats not using the litter box. Clean it often! Several times a day if you have to.

If your cat is going just outside the litter box, they know their supposed to be going in the box. They just don;t like something about it. It could be dirty, too small, there aren't enough boxes for the number of cats, they don't like the location or they dislike the litter.

I can't stress this enough. Cats are NOT vindictive. When they are not using the litter box, they are telling us something is wrong.

Marking Behaviors and how to identify them

If you suspect marketing behaviors. Keep your cat inside. Separate and re-introduce any new cats to the household - slowly. Clean that box often (heard this one before?) and give constant fresh water.

Signs of pain: If your cat is newly declawed, they may have paid in their feet. Digging in a litter box can be very painful. You must be patient. Also check with your vet to see if they are having any anal glad problem.

Another tip is to provide fresh water very frequently. Try getting an automatic fountain. Cats usually love these, as it freshens the water.

If you have tried everything and still having behaviors consult a professional behaviorist. www.DACUB.org

June 2012 Newsletter
Safely Remove a Tick
Removing a tick from your cat or dog is easy if you just follow these simple steps. To remove an attached tick, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or special tick removal instruments. These special devices allow one to remove the tick without squeezing the tick body. This is important as you do not want to crush the tick and force harmful bacteria to leave the tick and enter your pet's bloodstream.

  • Is your dogs nose dry? If so its time to head to the water dish.
  • Check their skin. Skin loses elasticity when its dehydrated. At the back of your pets neck, pinch the skin gently up and see how long it take for the skin to go flat. If it doesn't flatten very quickly, time for a drink.
  • Check their gums. If you run your finger along their gum line, a hydrated pets has "slimy" feeling gums.
  • Carpet and rugs - it feels good on there feet
  • Upholstered furniture - it feel good
  • Leather, Screen doors or windows or whatever they like . . woods, wallpaper, etc.
  • High traffic areas or where the family hangs out
  • Hidden areas (this is a rare behavior)
  • Near windows or doors
  • Scratching is a means of chemical communication. They have glands on the pads of their feet and scents are released when they scratch.
  • Visual Markers - "its my spot"
  • Nail care (they aren't sharpening but helping to slough off the outer nail.)
  • Full Body stretching
  • Playing
  • Normal behavior - its what cats do.
  • Make the surface unappealing.
    • Remove it, cover it with plastic or sticky tape (sticky paws).
  • Provide an alternative spot that appropriate.
    • Simulate what your cat is attracted to.
    • Pay attention to the angle.
    • Sprinkle new surface with cat nip you can eventually relocate the new item, but very slowly.
  • You you can reduce desire and/or destruction by trimming nails regularly. Or try "soft paws" product. declawing is the last resort as it can/will cause other behavioral problems.
  • Lets play Detective first with this problem.
  • Is it pee or feces?
  • Is it in multiple spots in different locations?
  • Is it next to the box?
  • Did this start after a change in the household?
  • Ss the pee on a vertical surface?
  • Avoid automatic litter boxes.
  • Don't use liners they normally prefer uncovered boxes.
  • The bigger the box the better
  • Use 1-2 inches of unscented litter.
  • Cats dislike scented thing in or near their boxes.
  • Scoop it daily, more if possible.
  • Clean it out weekly with warm water only
  • Avoid air fresheners
  • Use a finer litter - its softer on their feet use a clumping litter
  • Once you find a litter they like, stick with it.
  • Put the box in a quiet spot
  • You need 1-2 more boxes than number of cats
  • Spread the boxes out over multiple floors put the litter box where the CAT wants it.
  • they back up to the surface and shake their tails
  • They are peeing on vertical surfaces
  • Usually unneutered males so this, but any cat is capable of doing it.
  • Feels the litter box or "territory" is being threatened
  1. Grab the tick by the head or mouth parts right where they enter the skin. Do not grasp the tick by the body.
  2. Without jerking, pull firmly and steadily directly outward. Do not twist the tick as you are pulling.
  3. Using methods such as applying petroleum jelly, a hot match, or alcohol will NOT cause the tick to 'back out.' In fact, these irritants may cause the tick to deposit more disease-carrying saliva in the wound.
  4. After removing the tick, place it in a jar of alcohol to kill it. Ticks are NOT killed by flushing them down the toilet.
  5. Clean the bite wound with a disinfectant. If you want to, apply a small amount of a triple antibiotic ointment.
  6. Wash your hands thoroughly.

Please do not use your fingers to remove or dispose of the tick. We do not want you in contact with a potentially disease-carrying tick. Do NOT squash the tick with your fingers. The contents of the tick can transmit disease. Once an embedded tick is manually removed, it is not uncommon for a welt and skin reaction to occur. A little hydrocortisone spray will help alleviate the irritation, but it may take a week or more for healing to take place. In some cases, the tick bite may permanently scar leaving a hairless area. This skin irritation is due to a reaction to tick saliva. Do not be worried about the tick head staying in; it rarely happens.

article courtesy of Drs. Foster & Smith

May 2012 Newsletter
Jogging with your Dog
This year, I decided to make my own health a priority. As I thought about what exercises I wanted to do I realized that my chocolate lab, Finley would make a great running buddy. She loves to run, and would really motivate me to get out there.

I must admit, my running style is not pretty, and I was self conscious about this. But once Finley joined me on my runs, I realized that no one was noticing me. They all were saying "hi" to my pup and ignoring my red and sweaty face. So this was a win-win. We both get exercise and I'm no longer afraid to run in public.  

How do you start a running program with your pooch?

1. Take your dog to your vet for a check-up. You need to be sure he doesn't have a problem that may worsen with exercise, or that he's carrying a bit too much weight to start running right away. 

2. Follow a program. Don't make things up as you go along.  I personally have found the Jeff Galloway method to be a great method/program to start. 

3. Keep an eye on your dog as you run, and make sure he's still happy to be there. Watch for signs of overheating, and make sure he doesn't have a limp.  Keep an eye on where you're running too.  

What do I need to run with my dog?

1. I always use a waist leash. This way I am hands free. Check out this link for a great leash. 

2. Water, for you and your pooch.  

3. Poop bags. Exercise usually stimulates your pet to go potty, so give your dog time to go before heading out for a run. My dog refuses to go before our run, so I map my route near a park that has trash bins.  

4. You may want to consider dog shoes/boots. They will protect their pads and possible help avoid pad injury.

My only advice is to take it slow. Finley gets so excited when I get the waist leash out, that I have to remind her that we are not sprinting right out of the gate. At the end of our run, she is happy and tired. And that lab smile makes me a happy mommy

ASPCA Poison Control
Last month I was invited to attended an Association of Pet Dog Trainers webinar with Dr. Tina Wismer DVM. Dr. Wismer is the Veterinarian in charge of the ASPCA's Poison Control Center. For two hours Dr. Wismer provided a very informative session on avoiding common household pet poisons. I was highly impressed with the quality of information we received and am excited to be able to pass it on.

Tips for Pet Poison Proofing your home:

Items to keep on hand as a Poison Safety Kits

Dr. Wismer addresses many popular poisons they get frequent calls about, and give specifics about each items. Not only could this information save your pet pet help you make quicker decisions when your pet is in a poisoning emergency When contacting Poison Control or your vet with possible poisoning emergencies, ALWAYS have the package available of what your pet ate. This information will help speed up the treatment process.

Raisins: 1/2 of a small snack pack can cause problems in a 20 pound dog. Raisins can cause kidney failure.

Xylitol: This only affects dogs, and causes problems with blood sugar, Even a small amount can harm your dog and you should seek medical treatment.

Chocolate: This food item is the number one reason people call Pet Poison Control. When chocolate is consumed by a pet, it is digested differently than humans digest it. It can take up to 12 hours before the pet shows any signs of illness. 4oz of Dark Chocolate will cause problems in a 20lb dog 9oz of Milk Chocolate will cause problems in a 20lb dog 1.5oz of Bakers Chocolate will cause problems in a 20lb dog

Garlic/Onions: 1/2 tsp per pound of pet pet. Example 20lb pet would have problems with 10 teaspoons of garlic of onions.

Bread Dough: Eating raw dough can cause your pet to act "drunk". This is due to sugars in the dough. To counter act, give ice water to kill the active yeast. Eating dough can cause anemia.

Macadamia Nuts: This poison cause ataxia in pets but those symptoms usually resolve on their own with in 12- 48 hours without treatments.

Avocados: This fruit is very dangerous to birds and should never be given to them. Medical advice should be pursued if this is eaten by your bird because it can cause heart failure.

Ibuprofen: This human medication can cause kidney failure. For a 20lb dog 4 pills will cause ulcers and 8 pill swill cause kidney failure. Medical attention is advised.

Aleeve: This human medication should never be given to pets. A 40 pound dog can easily be damaged by eating just one pill.

Acetaminophen: This human medication can cause live failure. Is a cat eats any dose of this medication, get medical treatment immediately. A 20 pound dog would have problems after ingesting 500mgs.

Plants, Lily's: These are very toxic to cats. Ingesting this plant can cause kidney failure within 24-72 hours. Vomiting usually starts within 2-6 of the ingestion.

Helpful tip - if you pet gets something sticky on its fur (think gum), use oil to rub it out. When gummy like bally appears wash the fur with dawn dish soap.

www.ASPCA.org/apcc

For additional information on the ASPCA Pet Poison Control Center visit  

 

April 2012 Newsletter
Have you had a chance to watch Animal Planet's "My cat from hell" series? I discovered is and was instantly addicted. Jackson Galaxy is know as the "cat whisperer" and I am absolutely fascinated by his methods.

To say I've learned a a lot about cat body language and behavior, would be a mild understatement. Here are some things Jackson recommends Give you cat vertical space. Cats don't like being on the floor all the time and it can even make them feel trapped. Cats enjoy fresh grown herbs like parsley and cilantro. You can grown them in containers in side as a snack for your feline. You need to creatively play with your cat to drain their energy and keep them engaged. Try interactive toys they can "hunt and kill". Cats need daily, high value playtime with you. Cats prefer to come to you. Instead of you reaching out and grabbing the cat, instead hold out your hand and let them rub on you. Things happen slowly in a cats world, don't give up. Use a soft coaxing voice with scared cats. Don't reach out and pull your cat from its safe spot. Instead try treats, toys and nonthreatening behavior. For additional information on the show,

My cat from hell visit: Animal Planet.

Locally we do have a Veterinarian who specializes in pets with behavioral problem. Dr. John Ciribassi.

March 2012 Newsletter
Walk & Trains
Would you like your dog to be more polite when you take them on walks? Or are you tired of body blocking the front door so the delivery man isn't pounced on by your pooch? Most of us have at least one thing we would love to see our dogs improve on.

Walk & Trains are a great, easy way to get your pet some exercise as well as train them while you are at work or on vacation. Suzan Mosley, a Certified Dog trainer who graduated from the A.B.C. recently joined the Home Sweet Home team and is excited to offer our clients Walk & Trains as well as many other dog training services.

We offer both 30 minute and 60 minute Walk & Train Sessions. Suzan will work out a customized plan that addresses the issues you want worked on. After each session with your pup, Suzan will provide a detailed note along with possible handouts and homework. To get started, give us a call today and we will get your pup started toward better behavior tomorrow.

February 2012 Newsletter
Show us your Pearlie Whites
When was the last time you brushed your pets teeth?
Does your pet have bad breath or discolored teeth?

February is National Pet Dental Health month and now its a great time to see your vet and have your pets dental health evaluated. Around Christmas time I noticed that Maggie (my 13 year old yellow lab), had terrible breath. I took a look at her teeth and noticed she has some inflammation along the gum line. After a call to her holistic Vet, I got a referral to River Heights Vet Clinic in Oswego. I met with Dr. Stephen Juriga and he went into great depth about the procedure he uses with anesthesia, determining tooth decay and then cleaning and preforming any extractions. He put me at ease that he would take great care of her and would even provide photos of her teeth so the her regular vet can see what happened during the procedure.

The American Veterinary Medical Association actually recommends that you brush your pets teeth daily. This way you can reduce tartar buildup, keep their teeth healthy and reduce bad breath.

Here are some steps you can do to get your pet used to having its teeth brushed

1-Purchase a special pet tooth brush and tooth paste from a local pet store.

2- For several days let the pet lick the tooth paste off your finger and give lots of praise.

3- For several more days rub the tooth paste quickly in their mouth to get them used to you putting it in their mouth

4- By the 3rd week put the tooth paste on their tooth brush and let them lick it off.

5-After the pet gets used to the feel if the brush gently try brushing their teeth. Use tons of praise and make it a positive experience for them.

After time, your pet will see tooth brushing as a fun experience and it will be easy to incorporate into their daily schedule. In addition to tooth brushing you should also consider chew toys that are good for both their teeth and their overall health. Kong makes several items that you can place food into so your pet is encouraged to chew the toy. Planet Dog carried a line of toys that are fun to play with and your pet may enjoy chomping on. Antler are a great all natural chew. They last a very long time, rarely cause stomach upset and wont stain your carpets Rope toys can be a fun toy to play with your pet. We don't recommend letting your pet use rope toys unsupervised. By keeping you pets dental health good, you are also preventing other possible health problems and keeping your pet happy and healthy.

January 2012 Newsletter
News Years Resolution
What is one of the easiest ways to prolong your pet's life? By reducing your pet's weight to an ideal weight, you will not only prolong life, but also decrease the risk of certain health. problems, A startling 25% of cats and dogs are overweight and this number jumps to 40% in pets 5-12 years of age. An extra pound on an average sized cat (or 2 pounds on a medium dog breed) is equivalent to 20 extra pounds on a human!

Overweight pets are at risk for a variety of ailments, including:
Osteoarthritis
Insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes
High blood pressure
Heart and respiratory disease
Cranial cruciate ligament injury
Kidney disease
Many forms of cancer

The reality is weight loss for pets is a lifestyle change, just like it is for humans. You can help by making changes in your pet's nutrition and exercise. It is up to you to change these numbers.

So how do you know your pet is at a healthy weight?
Ribs are easily felt
Stomach doesn't sag
Waist is easily noted when viewed from above
Your pet is overweight if ...
Ribs are difficult to feel under the fat
Stomach sags-you can grab a handful of fat
Back is broad and flat
Waist is barely visible or absent

You're probably thinking "I know my pet is overweight, but I don't know what to do." The first thing you need to do is figure out how many calories your pet needs for its activity level. Then feed no more that amount. This includes all meals, treats and snacks. You should also have your pet examined by a Veterinarian before starting any weight loss program.

December 2011 Newsletter
At Home Sweet Home, we don't believe every household should use a pet sitter. However, we also don't believe every pet can handle kenneling. It really is based on your pet and their personality. Vacation Care pet sitting is when one of our pet sitters comes to your home and takes care of your pet(s) and your home when you are away. You tell us how many visits you want per day and each visit is customized to your household and your pet(s). Below is just a sample of some of the things our pet sitter will do when visiting your pet(s) Walk and/or playtime at each visit Fresh water with each visit Lots of individual attention and one-on-one TLC Medication and any other special needs your pet requires Feeding Scooping litter box/waste removal Brushing Feeding fish or other caged pets Bringing in mail and newspapers Watering indoor and outdoor plants Making house look lived in, rotating curtains and lights, turning TV and radio on/off Taking trash cans in and out on trash day Other pet and home care services as requested Kenneling your pet is when you take your pet to the vet or other boarding facility and they place your pet in a "kennel" while you are away. Some boarding facilities offer playtime, treats and walks, but there is usually a fee for those things. Kennels require that your pet be up to date on all vaccines. Your pet must also have a bordatella booster and a negative fecal exam within the last 6 months.

Lets compare the cost of Pet Sitting verses Kenneling:

Price per day*: HSH $45.00 Kennel $35.00

Cost of bordetella vaccine: HSH $0.00 Kennel $45.00

Cost of Fecal test: HSH $0.00 Kennel $32.00

Cost for one-one-one TLC & playtime: HSH $0.00 Kennel $22.00

TOTAL: HSH $45.00 Kennel $134.00

*Costs based on 2 dogs, one small and one medium dog, 3 visits per day

Pet Sitting is definitively the better priced option. Home Sweet Home does not require a fecal test or a bordetella booster to be our clients. Many people argue that if there was a medical problem, their pet would already be at the vet. HSH's response to that is all our staff are pet CPR & 1st Aid certified. Our staff are very experienced in working with animals. If your pet were to require medical attention we would contact you and transport them either to your vet or the nearest 24 hour facility. Vet boarding facilities are not staffed around the clock by Veterinarians, but by kennel workers. If there was a problem they may not know your pet well enough to know to call for help. This holiday season save your hard earned money and try pet sitting in your home. We are not only are fully insurance, bonded and experienced, but we take care of your home too.

November 2011 Newsletter
As we enter the holiday season, its only fitting we think about stress and ways out furry, feathered and fishy friends can help us cope.

 "Pet therapy" is widely used in nursing homes, prisons, hospitals, and schools to reduce loneliness, anger, depression, and stress. Research in this area has shown that cardiac patient survival rates were higher for those who owned pets, and that elderly people with pets made fewer visits to the doctor's office. Significant decreases in resting heart rate and blood pressure, as well as mood changes, have also been observed when research subjects played with their pets. Similar physiological changes were seen among the animals, too. Amazing, right? 

 Animals play a big part in lowering symptoms of stress. The simplicity of caring for them can counter a high stress lifestyle. There is nothing like having a cat or small dog sit with you and beg for your attention to keep you focused on the present. The simple act of petting an animal is wonderfully rewarding and a great way to ease stress. The following are a few other ways that pets help people reduce stress:

So this season when I'm stressing out about my gift list or even the weather, I'm going to try these tips to reduce my stress and bond with my dogs.  

My favorite Sweet Potato Pecan Pie recipe for you and Pup'kin Biscuits for your pups (courtesy of Rachael Ray Magazine)

Double Decker Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
crust:

preheat oven to 325. Spray a 10'' spring form pan with cooking oil. Mix all crust ingredients together and press firmly in to pan. Bake 4-5 mins. Cool on rack.

Sweet potato filling:

Raise oven temperature to 350. In large bowl mix all ingredients together. Set aside.

Pecan Filling:

Combine 1st five ingredients in large bowl and beat until well combined. Stir in Pecan and vanilla. Pour Sweet Potato filling into baked pie crust and smooth on top. Carefully pour pecan filling on top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a knife inserted in the pie comes out clean.

Pup'kin Biscuits

1- preheat over to 350. In bowl stir all ingredients. Add 2 TBS water or just enough so the dough comes together 2- on a floured surface, roll out the dough and 1/2 inch thick then using cookie cutter, cut into shapes 3- place 1 inch apart on ungreased pan and bake for 20 mins. Let cool on pan for 5 mins.

October 2011 Newsletter
Pumpkin -Pumpkin's not just a yummy snack; it's also a great source of fiber to help regulate the digestive tract. Fresh pumpkin is great, but canned pumpkin won't hurt pets, so long as there's nothing else added. You could make your pets a no-sugar-added pumpkin pie, or just let the dogs chew up the Jack-o'-lantern when Halloween is over, provided it hasn't begun to mold. My dogs love when I put canned pumpkin in their Kong and freeze them for a yummy treat.

Popcorn - Unbuttered, unsalted popcorn is a tasty treat for your dog, and healthful when fed as part of a varied diet. If you buy kernels and a popper and pop your own, you can salt and butter your portion, and leave a portion plain for the pets. You can even strong some on wire for your bird to enjoy. 

Peanut Butter - Pets can't eat chocolate peanut butter cups, but there's no reason they can't have peanut butter. Spread a dog biscuit with a thin layer of peanut butter for a special holiday treat. You could even make your own peanut butter cups by buying soft dog treats with pockets for stuffing with pills, and stuffing them with peanut butter instead.

Cheerios - as with the popcorn, string them up for your bird and you can even add some peanut butter. 

 Apples - My own dogs adore apples. I side then up and they LOVE them. 

Hard Boiled Eggs - I boil up my eggs and let them cool then give them to the dogs shell and all. Its a bit of a game for them to crack it and eat out the inside. Finley usually open one small hole and tried to eat the whole egg out it.

Kitty Cookies

mix all together, add a little water if dough is too stiff. Roll out and cut into shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 for 20 mins

Horses-  Take a small pumpkin, cut off the top, and pull out the seeds and pulp. Fill the pumpkin with a mixture of sliced carrots and apples sprinkled with a little brown sugar and a few drizzles of molasses. Your horse will root out the goodies, then probably smash the pumpkin with a hoof to get at the pumpkin flesh, which is also nutritious. 

September 2011 Newsletter 
Recently I watched a show about a woman with 700 cats. My first thought was "oh great another hoarder". But I could not have been more wrong. Cat House on the Kings is a cat sanctuary that is a no kill and no cage home for unwanted, abused and adoptable cats. The show was amazing to watch and since then I've explored their website and wanted to share it.  

1. Did you know that a cat's whiskers could detect even the tiniest of creatures? A cat can detect any kind of movement up to 2000 Times smaller than the width of the hair on your head. 

2. Ever wondered why cats constantly lick themselves clean after eating? A cat has natural instincts derived from the wild and this instinct tells them to wash away food scent to keep predators at bay. 

3. Know how to tell when a cat is happy? That's easy, they just squeeze their eyes closed. 

4. Cats purr at the same rate of a diesel engine, 26 cycles per minute. 

5. Do you know who invented the famous "kitty door"? It was Sir Isaac Newton. 

6. In America a black cat is considered bad luck. Did you know that a black cat is good luck in Asia and England? 

7. Rags to riches! Morris, the famous "9-Lives" poster kitty was actually discovered at an animal shelter in New England. 

8. Ever wonder why a cat sees in pitch-black dark? It's because their eyes take light in and reflect it back out ... like a flashlight! 

9. Did you know that even Nostradamus had a cat? His name was Grimalkin. 

10. Do you know how to discourage a cat from scratching up furniture? Rub it down with orange or lemon rinds because cats hate them!

article courtesy of Cat House on the Kings

Dog Bite Prevention
Children represent our next generation of pet ambassadors. That's why it is vital to teach them proper ways to protect themselves from dog bites. Joan Orr, an educator and founder of Doggone Safe is on a quest to educate 50,000 children about dog safety and has developed the Be a Tree program.  Some tips for parents to keep kids safe:

The Be a Tree program is a fun, interactive way to teach kids how to read a dog's body language and act safely around dogs. The best thing to do if a strange dog comes near you or your own dog is getting too frisky, or any dog is bothering you is to Be a Tree. Trees are boring to dogs and the dog will soon go away and leave you alone. Even if you are scared, it is important to stand very still and look at your feet. Never run from a dog! 

For more information visits www.DogGoneSafe.com

August 2011 Newsletter
Summer Travel:
There is only one thing I love more than traveling, finding great deals on travel. My husband and I are avid scuba divers and any money we can save on our room, airfare and rental, gives us more money to dive with. Here are some websites we use to make our vacation cost effective.

Vacation Rentals By Owner - we have used this site many times to rent a condo directly from the owner. You get to see photos, review and rates online. We like the convenience of having a full kitchen, washer/dryer and some even allow pets. You can speak with the condo owner directly for more details or to book your dates. We get great tips from the condo owners and their property managers. This is the best way we have found to travel. 

Home Away - very similar to the above link. Same concept where you rent directly from the condo owner. The great thing about speaking directly with the owner is they give great tips on where to eat, things to do and the best way to get round. 

Facebook - many airlines are using Facebook to show "secret" deals to their fans. Find your airline on Facebook and "like" their page. Recently United Airlines posted some great last minute fares.

Air Fare Watchdog - this site shows you the lowest fares from your favorite airport or airline. Their blog is a great resource also.

Scuba Board - as avid scuba divers we love this forum to talk with other divers about the best dive ops, which places are the best to travel to, and even stuff non related to diving. We have made great friends thru this forum. Even if you don't dive, check to see if your favorite travel hobby has a blog. Great insider info. 

Home Sweet Home - the quickest way to book your pet sitting is directly thru our site. Just click on the schedule service bone and follow the log in instructions. If you can't remember your user id just let us know.

Introducing a new cat to your household
The key to successful cat-dog introductions is to expose them to one another gradually under controlled conditions. You want to avoid creating situations where the cat runs away and the dog's prey-chase instinct is activated. If you have an adult dog who has never been socialized to cats, the introduction should be a very gradual process. Train your dog to sit and stay reliably before bringing your new cat home. This may give you somewhat greater control once the introductions have been made. Remember that these steps are progressive, so go on to the next step only when you feel your dog and cat have "mastered" the previous one.

 1. On day 1, confine your new cat to his or her own room at first. After a few hours, confine the dog in a fenced-in yard or basement or separate room, and allow the cat to explore the rest of the house. Then put the cat back in his or her own room, so the dog has an opportunity to become familiar with the cat's scent. Put a baby gate up but leave the door closed.

 2. On day 2, crack open the door to the cat's room a couple inches and allow the dog to sniff and see through the opening for 30 seconds. Reward the dog for appropriate behavior. Repeat this step a couple more times during the day. Continue to give the cat the opportunity to explore the house when the dog is securely confined out of sight.

 3. On day 3 and subsequently, increase the "viewing intervals" by short increments until the dog can watch the cat quietly for a few minutes. Reward good behavior.

 4. Allow the dog to view the cat with the door completely open, with the baby gate still in place, for a few minutes at a time. If the dog is tolerating the cat, go into another room. Call the dog to you and play a game with him or her. Then ignore both animals (but keep attuned to them!) and engage in some other activity. The dog will start to lose interest in the cat.

 5. Eventually work up to leaving the door to the cat's room open, with the baby gate still up, whenever you are at home. Always close the door when you are not present! Some pet owners will always need to keep the dog and cat separated when they aren't around to supervise, but others will find that after a couple months' probation, the dog and cat are OK together by themselves. It's far better to err on the side of caution, however, to prevent tragedy. Even after your dog and cat are peacefully coexisting, make sure that the cat's food bowl and litter box are out of the dog's reach. Keep the cat from approaching the dog when the dog is eating or chewing on a bone.

 article courtesy of the Champaign County Humane Society

July 2011 Newsletter
Having an outdoor party this summer and want to include your furry friends? With some simple precautions, you can include your furry friends in the festivities.
Have fun and games for your pet

The set the scene for the party

Prior to party you want your yard to be barefoot friends so don't forget to call K9 Clean up. During the party you can even have our friendly staff come and play games with the dogs so you can enjoy your friends.

Have fun with your pet this summer.

  • Use barrier, gates and crates to keep pets out of certain areas of your home.
  • Use child locks for your cabinets
  • Keep food and trash out of your pets reach
  • Keep houseplants out of your pets reach
  • Don't keep human medication with pet medication
  • Don't place purses or bags on the floor
  • Keep toilet lids closed
  • Manage cords
  • Provide plenty of exercise because tired pets don't cause damage.
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Cans of soft pet food
  • Turkey baster
  • Saline eye solution
  • Artificial tear ointment
  • Dawn dish soap
  • Latex gloves
  • Tweezers
  • Muzzle
  • Crate
    • Exercise: Taking a dog for a walk or playing games with your cat helps you get exercise.

    • Social: Animals often make people more social and pet owners tend to interact together. Its also an easy subject to talk about.

    • Love: Cuddling with a cat or small dog on your lap will help you feel loved and needed during lonely times. 

    • Well-being: Giving excellent care to family pets, such as grooming and spending quality time with them contributes to a general sense of well-being.
    • 8 graham crackers, finely crushed
    • 1 TBS canola oil
    • 2 1/2 cups steamed sweet potato's, mashed until smooth
    • 1 1/2 cups soy or almond milk
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
    • 4 egg whites
    • 6 egg whites
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 TBS canola oil
    • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
    • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
    • 1 TBS vanilla extract
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
    • 2 TBS dry milk powder
    • 2 1/2 cups white or whole wheat flour
    •  1 cup while wheat flout
    • 1, 6oz can tuna in oil (do not drain)
    • 1 TBS oil
    • 1 egg
    • Dogs don't like hugs and kisses.
    • Never disturb a dog who is sleeping or eating.
    • Supervise all interactions with dogs and your children.
    • bobbing for hot dogs
    • baby pool with toys that float and sink
    • freeze bowls of water and place in tubs for them to lick. You can even free toys inside the water. 
    • Make frozen treats for your pet (google for recipes)
    • Use plenty of umbrellas or tents to create shade
    • Provide fresh water
    • Don't use any fireworks or sparklers at this party.  
    • Keep the party food and alcohol in a pet free zone. Don't want any upsets tummies.
    •  Designate a potty zone for the pets and have plenty of clean up bags on hand.
  • Dog Days of Summer Everyone knows that the "dog days of summer" occur during the hottest and muggiest part of the season. Webster defines "dog days" as...
     
    1. the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere
    2. a period of stagnation or inactivity

     But where does the term come from? Why do we call the hot, sultry days of summer "dog days?" In ancient times, when the night sky was unobstructed by artificial lights and smog different groups of peoples in different parts of the world drew images in the sky by "connecting the dots" of stars. The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. In fact, it is so bright that the ancient Romans thought that the earth received heat from it.   In the summer, Sirius, the "dog star," rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, "dog days" after the dog star.

    June 2011 Newsletter Articles
    Take your Dog to Work Day
    On June 24th, don't just work like a dog, work with your dog. That's right June 24th is take your dog to work day. This national event was start in 1999 and is used by businesses, animal shelters and pet-care professionals from around the world who will work together to better the lives of shelter dogs everywhere. Thousands of businesses will open their doors to employees' furry, four-legged friends on this day in celebration of the great companions dogs make and to
    promote pet adoption.

    Tips for Dog Day Success

     
    • Dogs should be kept on a leash, unless in the employee's office or cubicle.
    • Employees should use a baby gate to prevent dogs from leaving their office
      unsupervised.
    • Specific areas, such as bathrooms or employee dining halls, can be designated as dog- free.
    • Have a back up plan for taking the dog home if he is not comfortable in the work environment.
    • Hire Home Sweet Home pet services to provide midday walks to employees' dogs, so they can take a much needed break.

    If your company needs more convincing have them give us a call and we can walk them through the options so everyone can enjoy this fun day.
    For more information you can visit www.takeyourdog.com

    May 2011 Newsletter
    National Pet Month

    Each May we celebrate the benefits of pet ownership and support pet adoption during National Pet Month. If you do not have a pet, consider welcoming a loving new member into your family by visiting www.PetFinder.com

    Pets give us so much joy. They make us laugh. They share their unconditional love. National Pet Month is all about giving back. First to pets, helping them live happy, satisfied lives. And to pet owners, helping you celebrate and nurture your pets.

     
    • Celebrate National Pet Month with a Mani-PETi! Make a day of it - pamper yourself with a pedicure while also treating your pal to a day of well-deserved grooming and nail clipping.
    • Give your cats "me-ow time" by creating personal areas where they can retreat. Consider adding elevated perches, scratching posts, and cozy sleeping nooks to provide safe outlets for their natural behaviors.
    • Reward good behavior. Whether human, feline or canine, we all like to be recognized for good behavior. Provide extra love, attention or treats to each of your pets as a reward and they will likely continue the good behavior.
    • Have you ever given your pet a massage? Show your appreciation with a healthy indulgence that's not only relaxing, but will strengthen the bond between you and your best bud.
    • Pets love presents too! Surprise your favorite furball with cool new stuff for playing, learning and grooming.
    • Schedule three to four, 10 minute play sessions with your pet throughout the day.
    • Consider installing a bird feeder or an aquarium. Think of the hours of fun your kitties will have with either of these additions to your home.
    • Give the gift of activity by building a mini obstacle course in your yard.
    • Treat your pet to their favorite snack. Baby carrot or fresh green beans make great healthy choices for both you and your pooch.
    article source: www.petmonth.com

    April 2011 Newsletter
    Earth Day - April 22nd
    Earth Day in an attempt to bring about a better understanding of the affect we have on our planet, and calling us to take action to make positive environmental changes in our community. Here are some tips you can do so you can be more eco-friendly with your pet:

     
    • Buy or make your pets toys from sustainable resources.
    • Switch your cat litter to a wheat or corn based litter.
    • Instead of flushing or throwing your pets waste away, compost it. The new soil will be a great organic mix perfect for your ornamental plants.
    • Recycle your aluminum pet food cans
    • Clean up after your pet around the house with organic cleaning supplies. They are safer for the environment and your pet!
    • Adopt your next pet. Controlling the pet population is always green, so why not adopt instead buying a new best friend?
    • Use Organic products, like shampoo and chose a Groomer that uses these products too.


    Take me out to the Ball Game
    You know that summer isn't far off when the Chicago baseball teams head off for spring training.

    April 1st is the season opener for the Chicago Cubs (against the pirates). Did you know that the White Sox also host "Dog Days" where you can bring your pooch along to watch the game? May 17th - Sox vs Rangers is the official bring your dog to the game day. To purchase tickets contact Mary Weiss at MWeiss@chisox.com or 312-674-5244 to receive an
    application.

    March 2011 Newsletter
    How to pick up your yard like a Professional Pet Waste Remover

    "The American Pet association estimates that this country's seventy-one million pet dogs produce over 4.4 billion pounds of waste per year. That's enough to cover 900 football fields with 12 inches of dog waste! Dog feces are more than just a nuisance - pet waste can pose a serious health hazard.

    Why? A number of common parasites, including round worm, are transmitted via dog feces. When infected dog droppings are left on the ground the eggs of the roundworms and other parasites can linger in the soil for years. As a result, anyone who comes in contact with the soil also comes in contact with the infected eggs.

    Children run the greatest risk of infection because they're prone to play in the dirt at the park or playground and then put their hands in their mouths or rub their eyes with their hands. But even a group of teens or adults playing Frisbee or touch football in an open area could be in danger. Parasitic infections can make humans extremely sick, and for pregnant women - can pose a serious harm to their unborn child."

    To maintain a clean and safe yard, we can offer the following tips.

    1-you will need to take a trip to your local ACE hardware or other home improvement store. You will need to get a 6 gallon metal pail with locking lid, trash bags and a pooper scooper.

    2- Once home put a trash bag in the garbage pail. With your pooper scooper, walk a grid pattern in your yard. Pick up all pet waste materials and place in garbage pail. To make sure you find all of it, overlap your grid pattern. Go front to back then side to side. After about an hour of this, you will find that it's a lot more work than you anticipated.

    3-Once you finally finish, sanitize all your scooping tools then make a mental note to call Home Sweet Home so that you NEVER have to clean up what your pet left behind AGAIN.

    For only $11.50 per week, our K9 Clean Up Crew will clean up your yard so that its clean and safe for you and your family
    source: www.aPAWS.org

    Adopt the Love of your Life Event Recap
    Home Sweet Home pet services and Heritage Woods - Yorkville hosted a very success "Adopt the Love of your Life" event and silent auction on February 19th. Paws and Purrs Humane Society and Jellystone Bark Rescue Rangers brought kittens, cats, puppies and dogs to the event. Many community members came out to place their silent auction bids and rescue a new furry friend. Three pets found new forever homes and over $1300 was raised from the silent auction and donations.

    Kim Morgan from Jellystone Bark said "I want people to know they can get great, pure bred pets from rescue." Jellystone Bark's Rescue Rangers is a newly formed rescue group based in Oswego. Their mission is to reduce the number of adoptable pets that are euthanized daily in shelters. Jellystone Bark works along with other out of state animal rescue groups to get pets out of high kill shelters and transport them to their forever homes. This group is an all volunteer group which relies on the help of foster families to socialize, provide medical care
    and teach them now to be indoor companion pets. For more information on all their adoptable dogs visit their website at www.petfinder.com/shelters/IL645.html

    Norma Gobert said "If you don't see a cat you like on our website, contact us and we can match you with a cat that suits your life style." Paws and Purrs Humane Society is a no-kill, not for profit organization dedicated to finding good homes for homeless cats and kittens. They are a small all volunteer group providing veterinary care, socialization and lots of TLC to their animals until they are matched with their forever guardians. For more information on this all cat rescue visit www.PawsandPurrs.org

    March is National American Red Cross Month
    In Celebration of the Red Cross, Home Sweet Home will be offering Pet CPR & 1st aid classes on March 18-19. As an instructor with the American Red Cross I have made it my mission to educate more people on how to help their pet in an emergency situation.

    The American Red Cross Pet C.P.R. and 1st Aid class will teach you several things:
    * How to be prepared for a pet emergency.
    * How to protect yourself and your pet from further harm, injury or suffering during
    emergencies by teaching prompt, effective first aid actions and care.


    Spring Lawn Care Tips
    from Brockway Lawnscaping

    You will need to do a general clean up of your yard. Avoid heavy yard work in the spring until the soil dries out - foot traffic and hard raking can compact and damage tender, new grass shoots. Once the soil is good and dry,remove leaves and fallen debris, and gently rake to fluff
    up and separate the grass shoots.

    Spring is the best time to prevent weeds by using a pre-emergent weed control, which works by preventing weed seeds from germinating.

    Spring is also the time to apply a Dormant oil treatment for trees & shrubs that will help ward of insects. You should also do your bed mulching and annual plantings.

    Brockway Lawnscaping is a family owned and operated company located serving the needs of residential and commercial customers throughout the Western Fox Valley communities. their goal is to give our clients that "Total Lawncare Experience". Brockway Lawnscaping is
    available to help you with all your spring yard needs as well as mowing.

    February 2011 Newsletter
    K9 Clean Up - pet waste removal
    Home Sweet Home pet services and Brockway Lawnscaping are partnering up to provide a new service - K9 Clean up. K9 Clean up is a professional pet waste removal service that cleans up with your pet leaves behind. K9 Clean up offers many pet waste removal options starting at just $12.00 per week.


    Home Sweet Home pet services has provided professional pet sitting and dog walking services to the Kendall County area for the past 4 years. Brockway Lawnscaping is a family owned and operated landscaper that provides their clients with "A Total Lawnscape Experience".

    January 2011 Newsletter
    New Years Resolutions to help our pets live Happier, Healthier lives.

    1. Help your pet get more exercise. Go for a walk, play an indoor game - anything to get your pet moving. This can be fun and healthy for you. If you don't have time, hire a pet sitter. Your pet will thank you. Did you know you can even do indoor pet swimming?

    2. Train your pet. This year, teach your pet a new trick or two. Many pets enjoy mental challenges to give their brain some exercise, plus it's good bonding time for you and your pet.
    www.Flydogs.ws

    3. Slim down that fat dog or cat. Pet obesity is a growing problem that leads to many health issues down the road. These health issues can be potentially expensive and life threatening. Obesity is a problem that is 100% preventable (and curable). Consult with some local sources
    for premium foods

    4. Get your pet checked out at the vet. Do blood work, heartworm tests and any other procedures your pet may need (like getting his teeth cleaned). Did you know there is even a mobile vet that comes to your house?

    5. Give back to the pet community. Volunteer at your local rescue or animal control. Spread the word about spaying/neutering pets, help with a local fund-raiser to benefit the community pets or even donate pet food and supplies to local programs.
    http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/IL111.html

    Make 2011 a great year for the pets.

    New Year Resolution (from the pets perspective)

    12. Have a one-night stand with a stray.
    11. Try to understand that the cat is from Venus and I am from Mars.
    10. I will no longer be beholden to the sound of the can opener.
    9. Circulate petition that Leg Humping be a competition in major dog shows.
    8. Call PETA and tell them what that surgical mask-wearing freak does to us when no one is around.
    7. Take time from busy schedule to stop and smell the behinds.
    6. Find the warmest spot to sleep, even if that means on your head.
    5. Always scoot before licking.
    4. Grow opposable thumb; break into pantry; decide for MYSELF how much food is *too* much
    3. Find more embarrassing things of my humans to run around with in the backyard.
    2. January 1st: Kill the sock! Must kill the sock! January 2nd - December 31: Re-live victory over the sock.
    1. I will NOT chase the toy unless I see it LEAVE HIS HAND.

    December 2010 Newsletter
    Homemade pet treats are great for gifts and are also a good way to save money

    Banana Dog Bites
    2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
    1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
    1 egg
    1/3 cup mashed ripe banana
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 beef buillion cube dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water
    1 tbsp. brown sugar

    Mix all ingredients until will blended. Knead for 2 minutes on a floured surface. Roll to 1/4" thickness. Use a 2 1/2" bone shaped cookie cutter (or any one you prefer). Bake for 30 minutes in a 300 degrees oven.

    Pumpkin Dog Cookies
    1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    1/2 cup pumpkin, canned
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    4 tablespoons Crisco
    1 whole egg
    1/2 cup buttermilk

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and cut in shortening. Beat egg with milk and pumpkin and combine with flour, mixing well. Stir until soft dough forms. Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

    Cat Crackers
    6 ounces of undrained tuna
    1 cup cornmeal
    1 cup flour
    1/3 cup water
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Measure all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into treat sized pieces. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool.

    Kitten Liver Treats
    1 lb chicken liver
    1 1/2 cups cornmeal
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup dry milk powder
    2 tablespoons molasses
    Combine all the ingredients in a food processor: blend until smooth. Pour into a baking dish. Bake at 400°F until the sides pull away from the pan or a knife comes out clean. When cool, cut into bite size pieces and store in the fridge.

    November 2010 Newsletter
    I recently learned about all the benefits of coconut oil (thanks to Go Dog Go) and couldn't wait to share all I learned.

    Whats the hottest new health food for pets and humans???? That's right we are talking about coconut oil An important ingredient in America's processed foods for most of the 20th century, coconut oil is one of the world's few saturated-fat vegetable oils. That designation gave it a terrible reputation, and by the 1980's and '90s, it all but disappeared from our food supply. Then the vegetable oils that replaced it caused more harm than coconut oil ever did, and now coconut oil is making a comeback.

    According to its advocates, when taken internally, coconut oil:

    * Reduces the risk of cancer and other degenerative conditions
    * Improves cholesterol levels and helps fight heart disease.
    * Heals digestive disorders like Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers and colitis.
    * Relieves arthritis
    * Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections.
    * Promotes normal thyroid function.
    * Reduces allergic reactions.
    * supplies fewer calories than other fats.

    What you can do . . .

    * Sample coconut oils (only the products that have not been hydrogenated) from your health food store - and share them with your dog.
    * Feed small amount and increase gradually to about 1 tablespoon per 30lbs of weight daily.
    * Apply coconut oil topically to cuts, wounds, infected ears, bites and stings.

    Get the right type:
    There are two main types of coconut oil. Refined coconut oil (labeled RBD) and unrefined coconut oil. RBD is typically inexpensive, bland and odorless. It doesn't contain all of the nutrients found in unrefined coconut oil, and in most cases the coconut used to produce it are of low quality. So stick with unrefined coconut oil.

    article courtesy of Whole Dog Journal, for entire article visit www.wholedogjournal.com

    October 2010 Newsletter
    How Old is Your Pet, Really????

    Just how old is your pet really? More than likely you know the pets age in years, or at least have an approximation of its age, but do you really have any idea how old it may be- chronologically speaking?

    I'm sure you've heard of the old "seven year theory". You know, the system where each year of a dog or cats life is the equivalent of 7 of ours. This system was simple, but too simple.

    In the early 1950's a French veterinarian, Monsieur LeBeau, formulated another system to address this problem. In LeBeau's system, a dog/cat of 1 year in age became the equivalent of a 15 year old person- due to the onset of puberty in each species. The second year of a dog/cats life became the equivalent of a 24 year old person- someone/something that has reached full maturity. After two, each year of an animals life would equal 4 years of human life.

    Example - a cat is 6yrs old - how old would they be in "human years"?
    24+ (4*4)= 40. It is interesting to note that dogs and cats move up this newer age scale at the same rate until they reach the age of 14. See the chart below to see how old you pet is in Human years. Was it what you thought?

    Age Cat/Dog Human
    1---------------------------15
    2---------------------------24
    3---------------------------28
    4---------------------------32
    5---------------------------36
    6---------------------------40
    7---------------------------44
    8---------------------------48
    9---------------------------52
    10-------------------------56
    11-------------------------60
    12-------------------------64
    13-------------------------68
    14-------------------------72

    Age Cats/Humans Dogs/Humans
    15------------74--------------------74.5
    16------------76--------------------77
    17------------78--------------------79.5
    18------------80--------------------82
    19------------82--------------------84.5
    20------------84--------------------87
    21------------86--------------------89.5
    22------------88--------------------92
    23------------90--------------------94.5
    24------------92--------------------97
    25------------94--------------------99.5

    article courtesy of Debbie Ray, owner of www.pedigreedpups.com

    September 2010 Newsletter
    Does your pet have Flea's?

    One issue every pet owner deals with is flea control. How to prevent fleas. How do we know if our pet has fleas. How can we get rid of fleas. What is the most effective and safest option for our pet. What are some natural options.

    How to know if your pet has fleas: Flea infestation can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. If you notice your pet scratching or biting itself more than usual, you are going to want to have a closer look. First, part you pet's hair and look for fleas where the fur is most sparse, like the
    belly or inner thighs. If no fleas are visible,look for redness, irritation, scabs, and "flea dirt". "Flea Dirt" is flea excrement and looks like black or brown dandruff. You can check to see if it is flea dirt by placing some on a wet paper towel. Flea dirt will turn red, indicating digested
    blood.

    Cats, because they often over groom, will occasionally just have hair loss, and no skin lesions or disruptions. However, they often will display the exact signs mentioned above.

    How to get rid of the fleas?
    Now that you know your dog or cat is infested, what is the best way to kill these nasty pests and soothe and heal your best friend's irritated skin? There are basically 4 products on the market today: Frontline, Advantage, Program, and Revolution.

    Frontline is a good option because it kills ticks as well as fleas. Frontline Plus will kill both flea eggs, and adult fleas. One negative is that there are bathing restrictions - before and after you apply it.

    Advantage is a product that works virtually instantly to stop fleas from biting your pet. It causes neurological damage to the flea in just a few minutes, which stops them from biting. On the negative side, it does not kill ticks.

    Program is a pill or liquid that your pet ingests. This medication comes out of your pet's pores and inhibits the flea's ability to lay eggs. It prohibits them from reproducing which gradually kills off the fleas themselves. This is good if you have a limited population of fleas. Negatively, this product does not kill adult fleas.

    Revolution is a spot application medication that kills both adult fleas and stops the eggs from hatching. There is only a two hour period after application before it is safe for the pet to be bathed. It also prevents heartworm. The bad side of Revolution is that it has a slightly higher
    risk of side effects in the form of stomach problems, like vomiting and diarrhea.

    Flea prevention:
    Bath and comb your pet regularly, and wash their bedding on a weekly basis. Adding garlic to each of your pet's meals is a great natural way to keep flea's at bay. For more natural remedies, visit www.greenpaws.org

    August 2010 Newsletter
    10 Tips to keep your pet cool
    by Dr. Karen Becker

    Did you know that your pet can't sweat? Dogs not only have a higher body temperature than people at about 100 to 102F, their bodies just aren't as efficient at cooling down.

    The only sweat glands your furry companion has are on his nose and the pads of his feet. The primary way he brings his body temp down is through panting and breathing.

    1- Dogs and cats can quickly dehydrate, so make sure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean water at all times.
    2 -Exercise your dog in the morning or evening during the coolest temps of the day, stay in the shade whenever possible, and keep all your animals indoors when it's extremely hot, generally considered to be 90 or hotter.
    3- Never, EVER leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle on a hot day.
    4- Make sure your dog knows how to swim before giving her access to a pool, pond, lake or other body of water. Not all dogs, even breeds known for their affinity for water, instinctively know how to swim.
    5- Play in the sprinkler with your dog or hose her down with cool water if she must stay outside and cannot avoid temperatures over 90 degrees.
    6- Don't walk or otherwise subject your dog (or cat) to hot pavement. Not only can this result in burns to tender paws, but because animals are close to the ground - and the ground is much hotter than the air - your animal can quickly overheat.
    7- Keep your pet safe from toxic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides commonly used during spring and summer months.
    8-Take care to keep your pet away from the potential food and drink hazards of your backyard barbecues, and remember to keep them safe at home during fireworks displays. Many animals suffer extreme fear from the noise, and the explosives themselves can be potentially hazardous to a curious pet.
    9-Work with a holistic veterinarian to help your pet avoid summer pests like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. There are safe, natural methods to both prevent and eradicate summertime pest infestations.
    10 -Know the Signs of Overheating

    Symptoms of overheating include:
    Excessive panting
    Difficulty breathing
    Elevated body temperature (over 104 degrees)
    Increased heart rate and respiration
    Drooling
    Weakness or collapse
    Seizures
    Diarrhea and vomiting

    article reposted from Mercola.com

    Pet Friendly uses for Vinegar
    Everyday when I check my facebook account I see updates from a pet friendly landscaping company out of Colorado. They have some great tips. I personally am really trying to use less chemicals in my home and yard and also reducing my carbon footprint at the same time. This
    month Pawfriendly Landscaping started putting tips on their Facebook page about the numerous uses for Vinegar. I found so may of them useful I thought I would share so that you too can make your home more environmentally friend for both you and your pets.

    If your pet gets sprayed by a skunk, rub full strength vinegar in his fur and rinse. Vinegar's natural pH properties actually soothe pet's skin and removes the skunk's odor.

    Do you need to keep your kitty cat out of certain places? Spray vinegar on the areas, it discourages them from sleeping, walking or scratching on them.

    Need to eliminate animal urine stains from your carpet? Blot up urine, flush the area several times with warm water, apply a mixture of equal parts vinegar and cool water. Blot up, rinse and let dry.

    To keep fleas and mange away, add a little apple cider vinegar to your pet's drinking water or food. It even helps with skin allergies, hot spots and arthritis. Depending on the size of your pet, the dose is normally 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon a day.

    To repel mosquitoes all together use catnip - it's better than DEET! Leave sachets of it in areas frequented by mosquitoes. Your cats will love you for it!

    Don't have time to give your pooch a bath? Make his coat smooth and glossy by spritzing it with a cup of white vinegar mixed with a quart of water - spray it directly to his fur. This concoction works on human hair too!

    Need to hide the smell of cat (or any odor) in your house? Leave a bowl of vinegar next to the cat litter or any room that needs an air freshener.

    If you're treating your pooch for a skin infection - after his therapeutic shampoo, rinse him with a solution of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water.

    To become a fan of Pawfriendly Landscapes on Facebook go to:
    www.pawfriendlylandscapes.com

    June 2010 Newsletter
    Indoor Cats can safely go outside!
    Recently I was reading about a company called The Cat's Den. This company makes outdoor cat enclosures. The idea behind the enclosures is that indoor cats can safely go outside to explore the sights, sounds and smells and the enclosures blend into the landscaping. At Home Sweet Home, we have so many kitty client who try to squeeze past us to go visit the outdoors. If those cats had access to outdoor enclosure they could still experience nature, but can't kill any birds or run away. What a great product! If you are interested in learning more, check out the website for idea's.

    May 2010 Newsletter
    Pet Friendly place to walk your dog!
    Kendall County, IL is home to many great parks and trails. Even though we don't have an official dog park in our county, we do boast tons of trails and parks. Before you set out, your dog needs to have an ID tag with all of your contact information. You'll also need to remember
    a leash -- most places that allow dogs require them. Finally, pack a kit that includes:

    plastic bags (for waste cleanup)
    water for both you and your dog
    snacks or food (depending on how long you'll be gone)
    dog booties (depending on season and terrain)

    Below are some of my favorites to take my own dogs to:
    Silver Springs State Park
    Harris Forest
    Richard Young Forest Preserve
    Subat Forest Preserve
    Fox River Trail (Oswego)
    Grove Road Trail (Oswego)

    There are two dog parks nearby in Aurora & Sugar Grove.
    For info and to get a permit visit:
    Aurora Dog Park
    Sugar Grove Dog Park

    April 2010 Newsletter
    Cutting Your Pet's Nails
    Keeping your pet's nails short and their paws clean is very important. I recommend starting a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly ritual of cutting your pet's and cleaning their paws. Nail trimming should be a positive process, so keep treats nearby and reward your pet. There is no set rule that you have to cut all the pet's nails in one sitting.

    Below are some links demonstrating nail clipping
    Dog Nail Trims
    Cat Nail Trims

    If your dog suffers from allergies, many vets will recommend foot baths. Below is a link featuring Dr. Karen Becker.
    Foot Baths

    If you are not comfortable cutting your pet's nails, please take them to a groomer or vet. If you need a recommendation for a Groomer or a Vet, please send us an email. We would be happy to share the contact information of our favorite Pet Professionals.

    March 2010 Newsletter
    Behavior Problems with Cats
    Home Sweet Home attended a Cat Behavior seminar led by Veterinarian Dr. Ciribassi of Chicagoland Veterinary Consultants on February 27th. We attended this seminar because we see and hear from our clients the frustrations they have with cat and certain behaviors they do. Here are some topics Dr. Ciribassi covered. I will also list contact info for him and his practice.

    How many litter boxes should I have?
    1 box per cat plus 1 additional. You should also spread them out throughout your home. When you put all your cat boxes in one room, the cat see that room as one giant litter box.

    Is there any particular kind of box, brand of litter or liner I should use?
    You should use whatever litter material your cat likes. Not all cats like the same kind and doing trials of different litters can show you which one they prefer. As for liner, you should not use them. Most cats do like them. Cats have also shown that they don't prefer the covered litter boxes. Those covers are more for our benefit than theirs.

    How can I tell if my cat is having toileting problems or is just marking?
    You should first rule out a medical problem. Your vet should be performing the following tests to completely rule out a medical problems

      • Urinalysis
      • Urine Culture
      • CBC
      • Chem Profile
      • Total T4

    If you see blood in your cats urine it doesn't necessarily mean a bacterial infection. It is rare that cats get bacterial infections. Blood means inflammation not bacterial. If your vet makes a diagnosis of a bacterial infection without doing any test, press him for more or find another vet.

    Facts on Marking:
    Marking typically occurs on vertical surfaces and along the perimeters of the room.

      • Urine is found on personal items
      • Stool is rarely used to mark in domestic cats
      • Marking occurs after the cat reaches maturity.
      • The chance of a cat in your house increases as the number of cats increase.
      • Spraying is always marking

    How can I stop my cat from urine marking?

      • Once you figure out which cat is marking there are many thing you can do to stop the behavior.
      • This seems simple, but maintain good cleaning practices. Scoop each box daily. Wash completely every week in hot water only every week if using non-clumping litter. Wash monthly in hot water only every month is using clumping letter.
      • You should put 3-4 inches of litter in each box.
      • Place a litter box in the area the cat is marking in.
      • Do litter trials to find which litter he prefers. Set up a new, clean box with a new litter, if not used in 2 days try a different kind, etc. You can also do this for different types of litter boxes.
      • Try different litter materials. If your cat is eliminating on carpet or other soft surface, try using rags in a litter box.
      • Marking is only one way cats scent mark. (cat mark by scratching, face rubbing, and eliminating). If you cat is marking with urine, try giving other scent marking options like scratching posts and scratching toys and cat combs.
      • Properly clean the urine marker area with K.O.E. or Anti-Icky-Poo. these 2 brands are proven to eliminate the smell. Natures Miracle does not work and neither does steam cleaning.
      • Confine the cat with his preferred litter & box to one small area. Once he shows he consistently will use the box, gradually increase his area.
      • Try placing Feliway to area's the cat has marked. Sometimes this generic Pheromone can deter the cat.

        Contact info:
        Dr. Ciribassi (630) 231-1544
        www.chicagovetbehavior.com

        The American Veterinary Society of Animals Behavior
        http://www.avsabonline.org

        February 2010 Newsletter
        Pet Insurance
        As most of you know, I am a new puppy owner. Finley is a Chocolate lab and she melts my heart! As I was preparing for Finley to join our family I did tons of research on pet insurance. I did eventually purchase insurance for her but since I haven't had much interaction with our
        new insurance company I really don't have a strong opinion one way or the other yet. Here is an article written by Joel Walsh.

        Should you consider buying a dog health insurance policy?
        Dog health insurance saves you money. As with just about all other costs, veterinary expenses have increased rapidly in recent years. Without dog medical insurance (or more accurately, veterinary insurance), you are responsible for paying for everything: routine checkups, preventive procedures, emergency care and disease treatments. That will run into hundreds of dollars. Why not get some help?

        Dog Health Insurance: Quick Cost Facts

      • Health insurance for your dog, like health insurance for yourself, has annual premiums and deductibles.
      • Pet insurance premiums depend on the breed of your dog and the type of policy you decide upon. If you have more than one dog, there is usually a reduced rate after the first policy. Dog health insurance deductibles can vary as well. The average annual deductible is about $100.
      • You may choose among different coverage plans which are based on your dog's age, breed, and per-existing medical conditions. Some policies even consider the dog's lifestyle; for instance, whether your dog is purely a pet or a watchdog, too.


    Health Insurance for Dogs: Quick Coverage Facts

      • Dog insurance health care plans can vary greatly. Some canine health plans are quite comprehensive, covering annual checkups, routine care, vaccinations and other preventive medications, and spaying/neutering, as well as illnesses and accidents. Others only cover unexpected sickness or injuries.
      • Dog insurance can have waiting periods for illness and other claims.
      • Your dog's age can affect your dog's health insurance coverage. Typically, policies begin veterinary health care coverage when the dog is 6-8 weeks old, although some will start when the dog is younger. Similarly, some dog health insurance companies only will cover
        dogs under 8 years old unless the animal was already insured with them before turning 8.
      • Many dog health insurers will not cover your pet if she has a preexisting condition or a terminal illness. Some will insure the dog only if the condition is controlled or stable, usually for 6 months.

    With all these options, it is important you check out the various dog health insurance companies, their pet insurance policies and corresponding dog health care plans. In short, if you care about your dog, you should care about his health. If you care about your wallet, you
    should care about your dog's health insurance coverage, too.

    How to brush your pet's teeth
    Dental disease (especially periodontal disease) is the most common disease in our canine companions. It is also one of the most preventable and treatable diseases. Fortunately, we can reduce or even prevent dental disease by giving appropriate chew treats, toys and frequent tooth brushing.

    You will need a soft-bristled tooth brush and veterinary toothpaste.
    Start by offering your dog a taste of the veterinary toothpaste. The next time, let him taste the toothpaste, then run your finger along the gums of the upper teeth. Repeat the process with the tooth brush. Get the bristles of the brush along the gum line of the upper back teeth and angle slightly up, so the bristles get under the gum line. Work from back to front, making small circles along the gum lines. It should take you less than 30 seconds to brush your pet's teeth. Do not try to brush the entire mouth at first. If all that your pet lets you brush is the outside of the upper teeth, you are still addressing the most important area of periodontal disease - prevention. If your pet eventually allows you to brush most of his teeth, so much the better.

    Even with the best tooth brushing, some dogs may still need an occasional professional cleaning, just like humans. By brushing your pet's teeth daily and curtailing the amount of periodontal disease, you may reduce the frequency and involvement of dental cleanings and
    provide your pet with a healthier, sweeter smile.

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