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My Favorite Pet Sitter


July 2009 Newsletter

Dog Exercise – The Key to Good Behavior and Health
Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith

The outdoors provides a fresh and interesting environment to keep your pet's mind active, alert, and off of behavior you'd rather not see. We know that spending time outdoors is important for our dogs, but who doesn't need a little extra exercise themselves? Here are a few ideas for stimulating activities you can share with your canine companion:

• Take a Walk - This is a great, low impact way to enjoy some time outside with your dog. In fact, daily walks are recommended for most dogs as a minimum element to their exercise routine (and people, too). Walks give your pet a chance to meet new friends in the neighborhood, stimulate her senses, and relieve herself. Any time you take your dog outside the yard, remember to use a lead or leash, and make sure she is wearing a comfortable collar with name & ID tag.

It's a common courtesy to clean up after your dog, especially during walks around the neighborhood. Waste cleanup doesn't have to be a dirty job anymore. In addition to the scoopers and rakes you may use to clean up your yard, there are a variety of biodegradable scoop bags you can use to neatly pick up and dispose of dog mess.

How Outdoor Activities Benefit Your Pet:

· Behavior: maintaining housetraining, releasing excess energy
· Psychosocial: continuing use of social skills with people, dogs, and other animals outside of the family
· Intellectual: continuing work on obedience commands when distractions are present
· Physical: maintaining weight, building muscle, keeping joints loose and limber, and keeping the bowels healthy (preventing constipation)

Backyard/Park Fetch - Whether you play in your yard, or take your dog to a local park, there's nothing more fun than a good old-fashioned game of fetch. It taps into their instinct to hunt and retrieve, and they look forward to the reward of returning to a happy owner again and again. There's a whole variety of fetch toys available to replace the soggy tennis ball many of us remember. Other favorites include popular fetching toys for both land and water. Soft Bite Floppy Discs and Flexibone Discs make great flyers, stimulate interactive fun with your pet, and retrieval in water is a great way to cool off your pet in the summer heat.

Hiking Adventure - If your dog likes a little cross country action, take him on a nature hike. Like any walk, we recommend bringing along a leash or retractable grip lead to ensure he doesn't stray too far. Hiking through wooded trails or tall grass exposes them to a few more dangers than a stroll down a sidewalk - fleas & ticks, sharp rocks and twigs, the unexpected downpour - but there are several products designed to protect your dog from these outdoor elements. Before hiking in the woods, consider getting your canine a tick collar or using a long-acting repellent treatment like Frontline® Plus, which our veterinarians consider one of the most convenient methods of flea & tick control.

Just as we slip on our hiking shoes and jacket before heading out, dogs too, need protection from the elements. You never know if the trail has sharp rocks, sun-hot asphalt, or the occasional shard of broken glass, but luckily there are dog boots available for almost any size or breed. They slip on comfortably right over all four paws and Velcro® securely in place. Be sure to clip your dog's nails before a hike to prevent them from getting caught in their boots.

For long hikes on hot days, keep in mind that dogs and puppies need plenty of water to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration. Be sure to keep a water source handy, such as collapsible food and water bowls or water bottle with folding reservoir.

Water Sports

Water Sports, Anyone? - Those of us who own any type of retriever know that on a hot day, it's hard to keep them out of that nearby pond, lake, or stream. No matter what the breed, water sports are a great way to cool down your dog as the temperature heats up, and now it's safer than ever to let your pet go for a swim. Many of the fetching dog toys mentioned earlier also come in waterproof, buoyant models, such as the Orka Flyer.

Just as you would with any member of your family, consider water safety if you like to take your best friend out boating with you. While many dogs are natural swimmers, you should still bring along a coast-guard approved pet life preserver to keep your dog's head above water without restricting his movement or breathing.

Dog Agility Parks/Trails - More and more communities are offering dog agility parks and trails, which feature various courses specifically designed to give your dog a fun and challenging workout. Canines leap hurdles, climb ramps, balance narrow bridges, and navigate their way through various obstacles. Many parks also offer classes for beginners to acclimate both dog and owner to the equipment. This is a growing new sport recommended for the active and fearless dog in your life.

We encourage you to provide your pet with more outdoor time and exercise. Exercise is critical to your pet's physical health, and the stimulation from the sights and sounds of the outdoors is excellent for your pet's mental health.

Litter Box Avoidance – Not Always a Behavior Problem

Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith

The owner of Ricki, a five-year-old calico cat, woke up one morning to find Ricki had dug up one of her plants, leaving a mess on the living room carpet. The owner dismissed the behavior as simply a reaction to the stress of having company the previous day.

Something just wasn't right...
The next day, however, Ricki had dug in the plant again, but this time, the owner smelled urine in the soil. Upon further inspection around the house, another spot of urine was found – this time on a rug in one of the bedrooms. Since Ricki had displayed no problems urinating outside her litter box previously, the owner began to suspect something was wrong.

Careful observation pays off...
She kept a close eye on Ricki all day, witnessing her squatting in her litter box many times and seeming to have difficulty urinating. When Ricki did go, she produced very little urine. At other times, Ricki eliminated in off-limits areas like a pile of laundry, a soft rug, and even on a sofa. Ricki also meowed in pain when picked up.

Getting help...
She brought Ricki in to our clinic right away and we examined Ricki, suspecting she had a urinary problem. We performed a urinalysis, which confirmed our suspicions: Ricki had a bacterial bladder infection.

Home again...
We sent Ricki and her owner home with antibiotics, instructions to provide the cat with plenty of fresh water, and an appointment for a month later. When we performed a urinalysis at her next visit, Ricki's infection had cleared up. The owner also reported that Ricki was back to her lively self, eliminating in her litter box again, and eating and drinking normally.

Veterinary Perspective...
(Factors Contributing to Inappropriate Elimination)

Medical Conditions: Cats avoiding the litter pan should be examined by a veterinarian to rule out a medical condition. Laboratory tests will need to be performed in most cases, however, if a condition does exist, immediate treatment will help resolve the behavioral problem. Possible medical conditions include: colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, kidney or liver disease, or feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). Medical conditions such as arthritis, FLUTD, anal sac disease, and some forms of colitis, which cause pain urinating or defecating may also result in inappropriate elimination.
Stress: Cats of all ages experience stress at some point in their lives (just like us). Stress can be a major cause of inappropriate elimination, and known stressors such as moving, changes in routine, or changes within the family structure (new members added or family members leaving home) can result in inappropriate elimination. Reducing these stressors or decreasing their impact on the household will benefit your cat and you, too.
Box Location & Contents: Some cats may not like where their box is located; too close to their food or water, in a high traffic area, or on a different level of the house than where they spend most of their time. Some cats are very particular and will not defecate in the same box in which they urinate or go into a box which has been used by another cat. Most cats do not like a dirty litter box. Clean out waste from their litter boxes at least once daily, and wash the litter boxes weekly so that they don't decide to eliminate elsewhere in your home.


Pet of the Month

Congratulations to July’s pets of the month: Cricket Ann, Freckles Ann, Neggie Sue, Minnie, Mr. Puff, and “fish”!


Cricket Ann

Frekles Ann
Freckles Ann
Neggie Sue
Mr. Puff
Mr. Puff
Nemos and Fin-Lee
Nemos and Fin-Lee

As interviewed by Neggie Sue…

How we met my family:

We were all adopted at a young age. Minnie is 20 years old; Mr. Puff is 19. CricketChristineAnn and FrecklesFrancesAnn are sisters and are 3 years old. I, Neggie Sue, am 10 years old and will celebrate my arrival in el Norte (USA) in November. My mom found me as a tiny kitten wandering the streets of Mexico. The Nemos 1,2,3,4 and Fin-Lee are fun fish; Nemo 1 is 20 years old.

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

Our mom loves us and spoils us rotten.

Our favorite hobbies:

Our main hobbies are eating, sleeping, purring; Cricket and Freckles love to go for walks and go camping. The fish love watching me.

Our favorite foods:

We felines enjoy our crunchies most of all; the Girls, Cricket and Freckles prefer filet of chicken. The fish enjoy their colored flakes.

Our favorite toys:

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

Our most exciting adventures:

We have many exciting adventures. The Girls love their road trips. Mr. Puff and Minnie enjoy hanging out in the back yard. I love to control everyone. I don't think the fish have any adventures to speak of.

Our idea of a perfect day:

My idea of a perfect day? Peace and quiet! The Girls prefer a long walk and a swim. For Mr. Puff it would be non-stop eating, and for Minnie it would be sitting in my Mom's lap. For the fish, every day is a perfect day under water!

What we like most about my pet sitter:

We all appreciate our Favorite Pet Sitter sitters; they are the BEST! Contact Neggie Sue, our Spokescat, for specific testimonials!

Service Announcements

We are taking reservations for fall and even holiday visits at this time. If you have a trip coming later this year, please let us know.

Focus on Fundraising

Folsom Feline Rescue and Katmom are having a used book sale on August 8th and 9th at Country Club Plaza Mall, in the center of the mall near the food court. The address is 2310 Watt Ave. Sacramento, on the corner of El Camino.

There will be over 10,000 books of all categories:
Fiction, biography, mystery, children's books, cookbooks, romance, art, science fiction, travel, and more!

Most paperback books will be priced at 50¢ to $1, and most hardback books at $2.

Saturday hours are 10am to 9pm and Sunday hours are 11am to 2pm. Please help us get the word out!

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