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My Favorite Pet Sitter


June 2009 Newsletter

Chew-proof Your Home
Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith

Don't give your puppy an old shoe or sock to chew on. Puppies don't understand the difference between new and old. Your puppy can not tell the difference between your new dress shoes and an old tattered pair.

Puppies chew on whatever they can get their mouths on for any number of reasons: they are bored, they have a lot of energy, they are teething, or they are just curious. Dogs learn through their mouths. It is their tool; it is how they receive a great deal of information. They are naturally inclined to use their mouths whenever they can.

Fortunately, most destructive chewing behavior can be prevented or controlled. To prevent problem chewing and to direct your pup's natural inclination to chew toward appropriate objects, follow these simple guidelines:

Puppy-proof the confined area. If possible, remove all items your puppy can chew on, including socks, shoes, furniture, plants, etc., from any area in which you confine your puppy. Tape over electrical outlets and make sure electrical cords are out of reach, or at least protect cords that are exposed.

Confine your pup in a crate, cage, or puppy-proofed area when you are away. Because puppies learn with their mouths, giving your teething puppy free rein in the house is asking for trouble. Keep them confined; you do not want them to go to school on your expensive living room furniture.

Closely supervise your uncrated pup. Not unlike caring for a toddler, you should always be aware of where your uncrated pup is and what he is doing.

Give your puppy chew toys. The sole focus of your dog's chewing should be directed toward items you select. There are a wide range of items to choose from, including many Nylabone products. There are also many safe, long-lasting chew toys that are made especially for teething puppies that will keep them occupied and content for hours. Examples would be knotted rawhide and durable rubber teething products, like Dogzilla chew toys, that satisfy your puppy's need for chewing and gum stimulation. The items should not be similar to articles you do not want your puppy to chew.

Make departures low key to avoid causing separation anxiety, which is often expressed through nonstop barking, whining, or destructive chewing. Before you leave, add your scent to your dog's toy. Rub the bone between your hands and give it to your pup as you leave.

Give your puppy plenty of exercise to relieve boredom and burn off energy - two significant factors contributing to destructive chewing.

Correct chewing of inappropriate objects. If you catch your pup in the act of chewing anything but his chew toy, remove the object and replace it with an acceptable chew toy. If your pup then chews on the toy, praise him. You always want to reinforce desired behavior with praise. If possible, treat the 'inappropriate object' with a product designed to deter chewing, such as Drs. Foster and Smith Chew Stop® that will give it a bad taste.

Teach your pup to ignore non-toy objects if he consistently chews the wrong things. Place tempting objects on the floor along with your pup's chew toy and pretend not to pay any attention to him. If (and usually when) he starts to put his mouth over one of the forbidden objects, correct with a firm 'No!' and point out his bone. Once he learns he can only have the toy when you are in the room, it is time to leave the room for short intervals.

If he chews on forbidden objects after you leave the room, your quick return will catch him in the act - the only time when corrective action should be taken. Again, give him the toy, and praise if it is accepted. If he is chewing forbidden objects but you cannot catch him, he should be crated when unsupervised until he learns what is and is not acceptable to chew on. The obvious purpose of this training is to prepare your puppy for the day when he can be trusted to be alone in the house and not confined.

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.


4 Basic Poison Safety Tips

Cats can come into contact with toxins in a number of ways. They can catch poisoned prey, ingest toxins off of their paws during self-grooming, or simply mistake a penny for a tasty treat. However, the basics of poison prevention all boil down to four simple tips:

• Keep important phone numbers next to your phone or saved in your cell phone, including those of your local poison control office and veterinarian's regular and after-hours lines.
• Keep all products in their original containers so you will be able to quickly identify a suspect substance and its warning label.
• Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your cat has had an exposure to a toxin. Your veterinarian will probably ask you to read ingredients from the label or bring in the packaging and any remaining suspected substances.
• Remember, if a product wasn't specifically designed for your cat to eat or to play with, don't let her eat or play with it.

Pet of the Month

Congratulations to June’s pet of the month: Sophie! Sophie is a golden retriever, shown here sporting her summer cut. She was recently interviewed by her mom, Wilma, and had this to say.


How I met my family:

I met my family through Homeward Bound Golden Rescue.


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

My family takes very good care of me. I love them!


My favorite hobbies:

My favorite hobbies are chasing the birds and playing with my “sister”, Trixi, a Chihuahua.

My favorite foods:

My favorite food is Kibbles and Bits

My favorite toys:

My favorite toys are a stuffed goose that squeaks and a stuffed snowman!

My most exciting adventures:

My most exciting adventure was going to the Lake!

My idea of a perfect day:

My perfect day is relaxing in the backyard when Trixi’s not with me!

Secret skills or abilities that few people know about me:

My secret skill is hiding my food bowl in the yard where my family can’t find it!

What I like most about my pet sitter:

What I like most about my pet sitter is that she plays with me every day, and always takes me on walks. She also always cleans up my messes! She’s great!

Service Announcements

I will be out of town from June 13th through June 27th, however I will still be reachable by cell phone and email. All of our pet sitters will be available during this time and can handle any needs that you may have.

There are still openings for 4th of July, so please let us know if you need any visits. Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

Pet Humor

How Bad is the Economy?(Cats are so dramatic) ! !

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