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My Favorite Pet Sitter


March 2009 Newsletter

Flea and Tick Control
Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith


Use products that contain adulticides and insect growth regulators (IGRs) to get all stages of the flea life cycle and to kill ticks. There are three essential steps to indoor control.

  • Vacuum regularly and thoroughly, especially below drapes and under furniture edges. Use a flea and tick carpet powder to get deep down into the carpets. You may also wish to sprinkle carpet powder on and vacuum your carpeted cat furniture. Remember to enclose the vacuum bag in a plastic bag and discard it away from your home.

  • Wash your dog’s bedding weekly. You may also wish to spray an inverted carpet spray on drapes, rugs, and upholstered furniture. This can also be used on dog bedding and resting spots.
  • Use foggers to get into areas like baseboards, moldings, and cracks – anywhere bugs might be hiding. Choose the product(s) you use with care, taking into account the presence of children, fish tanks, birds, and persons with asthma, and read labels thoroughly.


For outdoor control, regularly use a yard spray for your backyard, garden, and outdoor kennel areas.

Pet flea and tick control is a multi-step process. Adult fleas and ticks spend most of their time on an animal, but flea eggs, larvae, and pupae are most often found in the pet's environment - especially in carpeting, bedding, and under furniture edges.

For every flea that you see on your pet, there are likely to be hundreds of eggs and larvae in your home and yard. Ticks can hide just about any place and are difficult to eradicate. Think about the "3 Ps" when you want an easy and effective flea and tick control program.

If your dog already has a flea and tick infestation, your first step is to eliminate the parasites from your pet. Choose a flea and tick spray to keep adult fleas and ticks off your pets and to keep the insects from reproducing. Or, bathe the parasites off of your dogs with a flea and tick shampoo made for dogs that kills fleas and ticks. A good flea and tick shampoo will also leave your pet’s skin supple and his coat shiny.

Once you get rid of these pests in your home, keep them off your pet. You may want to apply a once-a-month topical to your dog like Frontline® Plus or K9 Advantix® (personally, I recommend Revolution because it also treats heartworm and ear mites). The best topical products kill any adult fleas and ticks your pet might encounter plus eliminate juvenile forms of the flea and flea eggs.

Your home is a desirable flea habitat because the fleas are shielded from the outside elements. They will stay inside all year round if you do not continually protect your home. This involves mechanically removing all stages of the fleas, killing any remaining adults, and preventing immature forms from developing. The only way to win the battle against fleas and ticks is to use this multi-focal approach. Be systematic and thorough and you will find that you and your pet can enjoy life without these pests.

Make Your Home Safe for Cats
Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith

In some ways, animals are not unlike children. Just as you would put a gate at the top of a long flight of stairs with a toddler in the house, we must work to keep our pets safe and healthy. For most pets, this means we need to keep certain items away from them. This is especially true for cats, who - with their natural curiosity - are the most vulnerable to household toxins.

Cats lack certain liver enzymes that may help other animals break down toxins. Our feline friends are also very good at hiding the fact that they are ill. Therefore, keeping toxins away from our kitties is vital to their overall health and well-being. To help protect your cat, keep the following tips in mind:

Read all labels on pet products carefully. Some are made specifically for dogs and should NEVER be given to or put onto a cat. A good example of this are pet flea and tick topicals. Many products that help protect dogs from fleas and ticks contain permethrin, which is a synthetic insecticide that is extremely dangerous - and potentially fatal - to cats.

Keep antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, and other automotive products locked away in a cat-safe cabinet. Many of these products contain ethylene glycol, which has an inviting aroma and sweet taste to pets and children. Unfortunately, it is estimated that over 10,000 pets die each year from accidental ingestion of these highly poisonous automotive products.

Lock away all medications, whether they are for humans or animals. Your cat can easily suffer an accidental overdose if left alone with medications for just a few minutes. Plus, since many human and animal medications are compounded with enticing flavors, they are even more attractive to your curious cat.

Keep all rodenticides (rat/mouse poison) or insect baits inaccessible to your cat. Many of these products contain hazardous substances, including organophosphates, which may affect your cat's nervous system, reduce blood clotting, and cause internal bleeding.

Ensure all plants in your house and yard are cat-safe. Some plants, such as the popular yew, azalea, and oleander, can cause fatalities if ingested by your cat. Others can cause irreversible damage to the kidneys, liver, and respiratory system. Check the list of household plants toxic to felines, or contact your local environmental protection agency, if you're unsure of the toxicity level of plants around your home and yard.

Keep your cat out of kitchen cabinets, linen closets, laundry rooms, and any other location in which you store cleaning supplies. Similar to automotive products and rodenticides, many cleaning supplies contain a mixture of chemicals that are poisonous, caustic, or fatal to felines, including Drano, Ajax, and products containing pine oil.

Prevent your cat's access to fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides. Many of these products use chemicals to kill insects or weeds or promote plant growth in gardens. Unfortunately, while these may help keep your yard free from pests, most are deadly to your cat.

Ensure your cat does not ingest any pennies, paint chips, screws, nails, etc. Many of these products contain heavy metals, such as zinc or lead, that are harmful to animals, including cats. In addition, these foreign bodies can become lodged or trapped in your cat's esophagus, stomach, or intestines and cause injury or death. At the very least, many accidental ingestions of such products require emergency surgery for removal.

In addition to the obviously poisonous items, our homes are filled with products that can make kitty sick. These products include mothballs, fabric softener sheets, automatic dish detergents, batteries, coffee grounds, alcohol, tobacco, and chocolate.

Pets of the Month

Congratulations to March’s pets of the month: Zeus and Mimosa.  Zeus is a Boxer/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix and Mimosa is a tabby kitten.  They were recently interviewed by their mom, LeAnn, and had this to say.



How we met our family:

Zeus:  I was adopted by my family when I was just 7 weeks old from The H.O.B.I.E. Foundation who brought me and my 4 other brothers and sisters to Petco for adoption.  They say I am a boxer mix but no one is quite sure what the “mix” is.  My mom thinks most likely Rhodesian Ridgeback – I certainly have the speed and stamina of a Rhodesian.

Mimosa: I first met my mom at the cat clinic where my Auntie works in Walnut Creek.  I was found abandoned behind a crack house in Richmond by a lady who rescues cats and brings them to the cat clinic to be readied for adoption.  When my mom saw me we bonded instantly.

What we have to say about the companion human(s) we share our home with:

Zeus: I love my family but I sometimes get mad when Mimosa gets away with batting at my face and tail but I can’t be too rough with her – mom scolds me when I am.

Mimosa: I love my “mom” and I run to greet her every morning, then she picks me up and I purr and purr and purr… She also lets me sit on her lap when she watches TV.

Our favorite hobbies:

Zeus:  Napping and playing with my toys especially my rock.

Mimosa: Taking a nap atop my cat tower, sneaking into any opening I can find and playing with the blinds (mom hates when I play with them).

Our favorite foods:

Zeus:  Anything that the family has left over for me.  I also like raw broccoli.

Mimosa:  I like any food that has gravy on it and I do like my “crunchy” food.

Our favorite toys:

Zeus: My favorite “toy” is my large river rock that I play with every day.  I also love my big red ball (it is fun to chase around the yard) and my “chicken” (a squeaky rubber chicken dog toy). I actually like any toy that squeaks especially if I can get the squeaker out of the toy.

Mimosa: I love my mousies – it is fun to run around with them in my mouth and to toss them into the air so I can chase after them. But most of all I like anything that moves!

Our most exciting adventures:

Zeus: Chasing after Mimosa.

Mimosa:  Teasing Zeus and then running away from him.

Our idea of a perfect day:

Zeus:  Going for a long walk followed by relaxing in the sun in my backyard then ending the day watching TV with my mom on the coach.  Oh I should also throw in a few games of chase around the living room.

Mimosa: Several cat naps (a few on my cat tower, maybe one on the chair in the kitchen, a couple more on the blanket on the coach), teasing the dog, helping my mom on her computer and lots of watching the world go by while gazing out the windows.

Secret skills or abilities that few people know about us:

Zeus:  I watch TV and I know when there are animals on there.  I will even lick the TV when I see other dogs on there (my mom hates it when I do that because she is constantly having to clean the TV off).

Mimosa: I like to give kisses just like a dog.  If you let me I will even kiss your nose.

What we like most about our pet sitters:

Zeus: We love our petsitters, Sandy and Janet. They take me for walks and let me out to play with me rock.  They also let me give them kisses – I love giving kisses!

Mimosa:  Sandy plays with me and she has one of those bright shiny toys (mom says it is called a laser toy).  I don’t care what it is called I just know it is fun (but I can get quite dizzy chasing it).

Service Announcements

Easter and spring break are just around the corner.  Let us know if you have travel plans and we’ll put you on our schedules.

Pet Humor

This dog is trying very hard to get the cat out of its bed! (You Tube)

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