Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Year’s resolutions for our dog(s) or cat(s)


Many New Year’s Eve traditions include an announcement of a New Year Resolution, but have you thought to include your dog(s) or cat(s) in this commitment?

In today’s culture most pet owners see themselves as pet parents. This self-proclaimed title reflects how much we love, cherish and value our pets in our lives. That said why not include and adopt these New Year Resolutions for your pets too?
 
 
·        I commit to walking my dog(s) more often or choose a reputable dog walking service to help!

·        I commit to provide my dog with friendly K9 social interactions at the dog park or on play dates.  The physical & mental health of my dog(s) will greatly benefit from more exercise & socialization!

·        I commit to educate myself on healthy food and treats for my pet(s). There is a plethora of websites that will help:

o   Understand words used to describe the true quality of the ingredients (especially meats) in food or treats. Know which words refer to what animal body part, for example.

o   Look for food or treats with fewer ingredients or additives. Not knowing what an ingredient or additive is when it is read probably means it is not a healthy choice!

o   Choose a food or treat that is naturally preserved, includes local organic ingredients, and quality carbohydrates (not useless fillers).

o   Look for food or treats with ingredients that are closest to their original form. Be aware of how ingredients are actually converted into a kibble, canned food, or treat. Some processes are appalling and can contribute to poor health.

o   Don’t be persuaded by embellished and misleading quality ingredients claims, a good marketing campaign, or cool looking packaging.

o   The best place to shop for your pet food or treats is a reputable pet store where a knowledgeable person can recommend food or treats based on your budget, pet health requirements, and preferred dietary “beliefs” for your pet(s).

·        I commit to brushing the teeth of my dog(s) and/or cat(s) more frequently!  Veterinarians promote that, after every meal, a pet’s teeth should be brushed to maintain oral hygiene.

·        I commit to giving back to our less fortunate pet community! There are so many easy and convenient ways to help the local Humane Society or animal non-profit organization:

o   Enrol in a monthly donation program.

o   Request that birthday and/or anniversary gifts be a financial donation to an animal non-profit organization.

o   Use a social media account (e.g. Facebook) to help raise funds, spread awareness for special animal/pet events, or help get that puppy or kitten adopted!

The heartfelt rewards we receive from pets are countless so let’s make our New Year’s Resolutions about spending more time with them as well as friends and family … This year lets include our furry kids too!

Happy New Year!

Amy Shannon Leclair
President & CEO
www.LovingPaws.ca

Friday, 13 December 2013

Winterizing Your Pets Advice

You’ve probably already winterized your home, car, garden and pulled out your winter clothes but don’t forget to winterize your pet too!

For your dogs when out for a walk:

• Keep them dry to avoid hypothermia when wet and cold chances increase.

• Let them wear winter jackets with a warm inner layer and a waterproof outer layer.

• Provide waterproof boots with a warm inner layer – very cold surfaces burn their paws, as does salt that’s sprinkled on icy sidewalks and roads.

• Consider pet-formulated nose chapsticks that can protect the delicate moist noses of your pooches from cold and windy weather.

• Make certain to always dry off your dogs after a nice winter walk outside.

For your cats:

• Even indoor cat might need a light sweater to keep them warm from drafts, especially if they received a new shorter hairdo for the Holiday Season family photo!

• If cats go outside please be mindful of severe cold weather and snow storms. Avoid letting cats out during these times. There are so many dangers out there this time of year with plow trucks, slippery roads for cars, hungry wild animals, broken power lines, and hypothermia … to name a few.

• Make sure when your cats come inside the home to dry them off properly. Inspect their paws and ears for frost bite, chapped nose, runny eyes or nose and for any signs of weight loss that might be caused by an upper respiratory infection.
Caged pets:

• Allow fresh air into the home from time to time.  Fresh air is important to our health and for the health of our pets too!

• Keep cages far away from cold drafts. This especially important for cages on the floor where you may not feel the draft but pets do.

• Clean cages more often to avoid mold and provide extra bedding for warmth.
Amy Shannon Leclair
President & CEO
Loving Paws & House Sitting
www.lovingpaws.ca

Monday, 10 June 2013

Summer Safety for your Pets

Summer has finally arrived!  While the weather is wonderful for relaxing outside in your backyard, having barbeques, and preparing your gardens, the summer season also reveals several toxins that your pets may be exposed to, which are very dangerous for your pets’ health.  When your pets are playing outside, they should be confined to a safe area that is free of these dangers, otherwise they should be closely supervised at all times.  To ensure a pet safe yard, inspect fence perimeters to ensure that the fence is fully enclosed, and there are no holes where a dog or cat would be able to escape.

Water

Salt/chlorinated water pools can be very dangerous to your dog, if for instance you take your dog for a swim.  Dogs are not aware that the pool water is harmful, and if they consume it in large amounts this can result in hypernatremia (salt poisoning) or chlorine poisoning. Initial signs of hypernatremia or chlorine poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea, and it can progress very quickly.  If contracted, it is important to bring your pet to the vet right away to be treated with IV fluids. 

Stale water and dog water dishes shared by several dogs (as seen in some dog parks) should also be avoided, as dogs can potentially contract Parvovirus.  Parvovirus can survive in cages, on food, and water dishes, and is a life-threatening viral disease.  Hospitalization is critical for successful treatment. 

Help to avoid hypernatremia and Parvovirus by carrying your own fresh bottle of water for your dog to have when on the beach or outside in the backyard or at dog parks.

Plants & Garden

Several pets will chew on plants in the yard.  While most grasses are non-toxic, they can result in gastrointestinal upset when they are ingested, and cause vomiting.  Some plants grown in the summer of particular concern, and should be kept away from pets are:

Tomato plants, rhubarb, poinsettias, and Easter lily.  Tulips, Lily of the valley, Oleander, Kalanchoe, and Azaleas can be life threatening if digested in large amounts.

Be careful growing onions and garlic in your garden, as they contain thiosulphate, which is toxic to cats and dogs, and can cause hemolytic anemia.  Symptoms of this condition include: lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Grapes also present a significant health concern for dogs.  Ingestion of even small amounts of grapes can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes even acute renal failure.  Veterinary care is required for treatment, and includes decontamination, IV fluid therapy, and close monitoring.

Wild Mushrooms

Although most mushrooms are non-toxic, not all mushrooms are.  The main problem with mushroom ingestion in pets is the fact that there are so many different types of mushrooms that a specific type may not be easily identifiable.   If digestion occurs, pay close attention to see if symptoms occur such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, and seizures.  Also, take a sample of the mushroom for possible identification when getting veterinary assistance. The best option is to avoid the risk of mushroom consumption by inspecting your backyard prior to leaving your pet in the yard unsupervised, and disposing of all mushrooms that you are unfamiliar with.

Pesticides & Herbicides

Pesticides and herbicides these days are much safer than they used to be.  Typically, when applied according to the label, they are relatively a low risk to pets.  That said, pesticides can often contain bone meal which is particularly appetizing to dogs.  Although it is not a toxicity concern, it can result in severe pancreatitis when ingested.

Ensure that your pets are kept off of the treated surfaces until the product is completely dry.  Also, ensure that the containers of concentrated product is out of the pets’ reach.  The potential for toxicity in pets is increased if they have access to chew on the containers, or when the product is applied improperly.  Glyphosate and 2,4-D are the two most common herbicides.  Symptoms of ingestion include; lethargy, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.  IV fluids are required for treatment.

Humidity

While it is not poisonous for pets, heat from the hot summer weather can be deadly to pets.  Since pets don’t perspire as humans do, they are much more susceptible to getting heat stroke.  Signs of heat stroke include rapid heart rate, heavy breathing, drooling, vomiting, faintness, and collapse. Pets should never be left alone in a car on a hot day, as they can develop heat stroke even quicker in a vehicle.  To avoid heatstroke, bring water with you, let your pet get plenty of water, provide a shaded area with lots of air movement, and even bathe your pet in cool water.

Conclusion

In order to prevent all of these potential pet dangers, take all the necessary precautions, to avoid these risks.  Clean up and inspect your backyard, carefully monitor your pet and what they are consuming in your backyard, garden, and at dog parks, carry fresh water with you and your pet at all times, educate yourself on the symptoms to recognize, and have an emergency procedure in place for your pet, so that you will be able to act quickly should urgent care be required.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

What Happens To Your Pet If Something Happens To You?

Do you have a plan for how your pets would continue to be cared for and receive the love and attention they deserve and require if something were to happen to you?  It’s something that no one wants to think about, but in reality it is always ideal to hope for the best, but plan for the worst case scenario.

What if you are unexpectedly injured, and become unable to walk or feed and care for your dog, cat or other pet for weeks, months, or even longer?  Accidents and injuries can come on suddenly, and the healing process can progress gradually.  The last thing you should have to worry about if something were to happen to you should be whether or not your pet will be cared for properly while you are healing or are hospitalized.  This is why we strongly recommend arranging services ahead of time, so that your pets will continue to be cared for if any incident or illness were to occur. 
 
Loving Paws & House Sitting has a wonderful team of sitters that offer services which would be ideal for these types of situations.  Since we offer in-your-home pet sitting, you would be able to keep your pet at home in their regular environment while you are hospitalized, your pet would be able to keep you company while you recover at home, and maintain their regular walking, feeding and playtime routines with the help of one of our sitters.  Arrange a Meet & Greet consultation with one of our sitters today to go over your pet’s routine, have you and your pet establish a rapport with your sitter, and make the arrangements necessary with your sitter if an emergency or illness did arise.  Arranging this ahead of time will alleviate the stress that would otherwise cause you if you made these arrangements after the fact of an emergency or illness. Also avoid, imposing on a family member or friend to make arrangements for you while you are unable to.

Although most of us will outlive our pets, it is still best to be prepared for everything including death, so you can ensure the best care for your pets if you were to pass away.  In this case, during the transition period of finding a home for your pet for example, you could arrange ahead of time, in your will, for a sitter to care for your pet. The peace of mind knowing that your sitter will care for your pet until a new suitable home is found avoids your pet spending any time in a kennel or shelter.

The Ottawa Humane Society also has a great program for this scenario called the Pet Stewardship Program which ensures that proper care is given to your pet, and helps to find a permanent care giver among other great advantages.  For more information on this program, please visit http://ottawahumane.ca/gifts/animal_legacy_pets.cfm
 
To learn more about our Meet & Greet Consultations please visit us at http://www.lovingpaws.ca/English/Services/Procedures/Meet&Greet.html 

Have peace of mind that your pets receive the heartfelt care they deserve while you are unable to provide it!
 
 

Monday, 11 February 2013

7 Reasons to choose In-Your-Home Pet Care

1)   Less stress on your pet

• Your pet gets to stay in its own familiar environment where all smells, sounds and surroundings say “Home!”

• Your pet will be less likely to have separation anxiety when cared for at home. Separation anxiety can cause a pet to not eat, sleep, have an upset belly, and possibly even developed behavioural issues due to stress.

• There won’t be unfamiliar pets that may be noisy, and disrupt your pet’s regular routine.

• There will not be several different staff members coming and going, but rather one consistent sitter entering your home.
 
2)  Diet, Exercise & TLC

• Your pet remain on its regular routine (i.e. feeding, walking, playtime schedule will not be interrupted).

• All your pet’s favourite toys, bed and treats will be accessible.

• Your pet’s customary diet will be unchanged.
 
3)  Avoid “Travel Trauma”

• Transporting your pet can often cause you and your pet stress before a vacation.

• Pets are often noisy during the car ride, and can also sometimes urinate or defecate in their crate due to the stress of not knowing where they are going and why they are being removed from their regular environment.

• There is no need to have to worry about transporting your pet to any facility when your pet gets to stay at home.
 
4)  Health Risks

• With in-your-home pet care, you avoid any risk of exposure to other animals’ illnesses (e.g. kennel cough or fleas).

• If your pet has health concerns of its own, or medications involved, you can be sure that your professional sitter will follow the specific routine involved in tending to the specific health concern (i.e. medication and medical treatments will be administered promptly at the requested time by your qualified sitter).

• Often times, pets can develop stress related illnesses such as; loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting and/or anxiety issues due to the stressful environment of a kennel or being in unfamiliar surroundings.
 
5)  Building a Rapport

• With in-your-home pet sitting, your pet will have the opportunity to bond with the pet sitter, and receive love and undivided attention from him/her.

• When using the service on multiple occasions, we always pass your request on to the previous sitter to accept your request in order to keep consistency with the sitter that you and your pet have already established a bond with.  After a short time, your pet will be accustomed to seeing their new friend each time you are away on vacation, and seeing their sitter will become routine.

6)  Emergencies

• Your LP&HS sitter will provide you with a Vet Notification card (to drop off at your Vet prior to your vacation) during the Meet & Greet consultation in case an emergency arises while you are away. This reassures and notifies your veterinarian that your pet is in good hands while you’re away.

• This free card from LP&HS lets you notify your Veterinarian that you are using our services, that you authorize us to act as your representative and make decisions with your Veterinarian to stabilize your pet's health during an emergency situation, and that the Veterinarian may provide stabilizing treatment up to a dollar amount specified by you on the card.

• Most of our sitters are Pet First Aid Certified, is familiar with the content of the LP&HS Emergency Handbook for protocols and access to experts with years of experience in the pet care field.
 
7)  House Care & Security

• Added benefit of having your sitter water plants & bring in the mail.

• Crime deterrence and home safety daily home inspection. Should something become suspicious around your home or she/he finds a burst water pipe, your sitter will take precautionary action, and call your emergency contact or the police.    

• Emergency Notification card - Notifies your neighbour and/or emergency contact person that you will be using our professional services.

 
To review the Loving Paws & House Sitting fill list of benefits page please click here.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Five Tips to Choosing the Right Pet Sitter


1)      Find a Professional Company: 

Celebrating 7 years of excellent service: 2005 - 2012
Loving Paws & House Sitting
celebrates 7 years in business
·       Look for a company that has been in business for at least a few years, and has an established clientele of repeat clients (long standing businesses generally have more established policies in place, and if they have been in business for a few years with a number of repeat clients, you will be more likely to be satisfied with the service provided to you).  
 
·       Make sure that the company you hire has insurance and is bonded, and be sure to request to see the insurance credentials during your initial meeting with your sitter.
 
·       Look for a company that abides by a code of conduct and quality assurance. Review their commitment and look for key components such as: Integrity, Caring, Dependability, Emergency Readiness, and Security & Privacy. Also enquire about their satisfaction guarantee! Check out Loving Paws & House Sitting's Quality Assurance & Standard of Excellence.

·       Verify that your sitter has Pet First Aid and CPR training (very important for older pets, and ones with noted health issues).

LP&HS - OHS PAW Monthly Donor Member
Loving Paws & House Sitting
is a pround montly donor of the
Ottawa Humane Society
·       Ask about pet-related Associations (e.g. Humane Society) that the company is affiliated with, or which offer referrals to the company.
 
·      Ask the company about their hiring protocol and credentials for employed or sub-contracted sitters. Ensure they go through a proper interview process, reference check and that they request a criminal background check.

2)      Testimonials:

·       Ask people that you know and trust for referrals (i.e. friends, neighbours and co-workers), as well as your veterinarian.

·       Ask your sitter or company to provide you with reference letters or client testimonials, and contact the references given.

3)      Transparency:

·       Does the company have an informative website? The more information is provided on the website the more transparent the company is. You should be able to see the Services being offered, About Us, Rates, and Procedures, at the very least.  
 
·       Make sure that the quote and information you are provided with is detailed, and clearly outlines the cost per day, and any additional charges, as well as the total charges.

·       Be sure to understand the services which are being offered; what is included, and what is not included in the rate.  If you are unsure, ask questions ahead of time, to ensure that your expectations are met.
 
·        Are the Terms & Conditions of the company/sitter transparent? If not, it's best to choose a company/sitter that has transparent Terms & Conditions.

4)      Compare Cost & Services Offered

·       Compare what the cost is for the level and type of service that you are getting.  A company with more credentials (insurance, First Aid & CPR certified, well outlined Policies & Procedures, etc) will likely be more expensive that other companies, sole-proprietors or "under the table" pet sitters, but paying a bit extra is often worth it for that extra peace of mind and professionalism.

·       Ensure that the company you hire offers the type of service that meets the needs of your pet(s).  Some companies may not offer overnights, or boarding, or may not have staff on their team available for the types medical care that your pet requires or have a backup plan in the event a sitter is unable to care for your pet(s).

5)      Meet & Greet/Contract Signing

·       It is very important for you to spend time meeting with your pet sitter to ensure that you feel comfortable with the individual caring for your most precious belongings; your pet(s) and your home.  A Meet & Greet should generally last at least 30-minutes.

·       Give your sitter and pet time to bond during the meeting to allow your pet to know they are in good hands while you are away.

·       Go over your pet(s)’ needs (personality, routine, feeding schedule, health) and your expectations in detail to avoid any miscommunication.

·       Ask about the company’s Policies & Procedures, as well as Emergency Policies.

·       Make sure your sitter tests the keys you provide them with, as well as your alarm system.

·     Make sure that there is a written contract between you and your sitter which outlines all of the Policies and Procedures of the company. Carefully read the contract before signing it, and be sure to ask your sitter questions about the Policies & Procedures if anything is unclear.


In the end taking these extra steps, you and your pet(s) will benefit from having a Paw'fect experience with a professional pet sitter!



 
 http://www.lovingpaws.ca/English/Services/Services/Quality_Assurance.html

Friday, 21 December 2012

Pet Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

This time of year is a wonderful time to share with friends and family, to eat, drink and to decorate your home with festive holiday décor.  However, these traditions can be quite hazardous to our pets if we do not take the proper precautions to ensure the safety of our furry friends during the holiday season.
 
Christmas Trees:  While having a Christmas tree in your home can be delightful and decorative, it can make your pets sick.  Pets are often attracted to eating pine needles, which can become lodged in their throats, making it painful for them to swallow, or worse puncture through.  Also, for pets, drinking the water from Christmas trees can cause diarrhea, mouth sores, and vomiting.  We recommend keeping your pet in an area that is separated from where your tree is located in your home, during times that you are not monitoring your pet, or if you are away over the holidays, and having a pet sitter care for your home and pets.  Also, cover your tree stand with a tight skirting, to prevent your pet from drinking the tree water and pick up fallen pine needless promptly.
 
Plants:  Holly, Poinsettias, and mistletoe can be festive holiday décor for your home, but are unfortunately also toxic to our pets.  They can cause stomach, skin, mouth and eye problems.  Make sure that your Christmas plants are out of reach of your pets over the holidays.  Artificial plants made from silk or plastic can be another option.
 
Lights:  Adding more lights to your home, will add more cords for your pets to chew on if you’re not careful.  With electrical lights, be sure to tape the cords to the walls or floors to ensure that your pet cannot chew or trip on them.
 
Chocolate & Nuts:  Some cookies, candies and nuts can be dangerous to your pets. For example chocolate is highly toxic to our furry friends as it contains theobromine and theophylline, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. The darker the chocolate the more toxic it becomes for our pets.  Eating chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, increased thirst, and heart rate in our pets.  Amongst the nuts the most prominent to avoid is the Macadamia nut. The high phosphorus content is said to possibly cause bladder stones in dogs. Eating Macadamia nuts can also cause weakness, muscle tremors, swollen & painful limbs, and worse paralysis. Candy wrappers can also be extremely attractive to pets, and can cause vomiting and intestinal blockage when digested. Make sure that all of your holiday sweets are out of your pet’s reach, and that candy wrappers are disposed of while your sitter is caring for your pet over the holidays.
 
Holiday leftovers:  While sometimes we think our pets deserve a holiday treat, changing their regular diet even for one feeding can cause indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney and/or liver damage with toxic ingredients. There are so many ingredients in our holiday recipes that we need to avoid for our pets, such as: onions, garlic, mushrooms, grapes, raisins to name a few. Poultry and fat trimmings is a popular left over that is often fed to pets.  Poultry bones can splinter, lacerate and cause bowel obstruction which your pet will require surgery to remove the bone. And fat trimming can cause Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.
 
Parties:  If you plan to entertain this holiday season, make sure that your pet has a place to retreat to when they get overwhelmed with all of the excitement and to ensure that they do not escape from your home.
 
Alcohol:  Animals can become very sick if they ingest alcohol.  Make sure when you’re entertaining to place alcoholic drinks out of reach of your pets.
 
That said, we at Loving Paws & House Sitting encourage you to celebrate the holidays with your furry family members with pet friendly treats, gifts and cuddles. Enjoy their company while keeping in mind their safety!
 
Lastly give back to less fortunate pets this holiday season!  While your pet is in a safe and secure home being cared for by you or your pet sitter over the holidays, there are many pets that will be homeless. At the Ottawa Humane Society, you can give back to less fortunate animals by helping a dog or cat in need or giving a special gift. To donate to Ottawa Humane Society please visit our OHS My Fundraiser Page today!  Your gift would make a paws-itive impact on a pet-in-need’s life. 
 
Have a pur'fect holiday season, and a doggone Happy New Year!