Monday, October 21st, 2013
As the premier provider of South Shore dog walking, if there’s one thing we know about – it’s walking dogs. We love walking with our clients all throughout the year, but there are just so many wonderful things to love about walking dogs in October. If we were forced to narrow down our list of what we love the most about dog walking this time of the year, it would look something like this:
- Trails look completely different in autumn compared to any other time of the year. This lends to a whole new appreciation of views from the trails each and every time.
- Dogs even look completely different in autumn as the earthy tones of browns, reds, yellows and oranges bring out a whole new contrast against the colors of their fur.
- The crunch of the fallen leaves under a multitude of paws.
- The slightly musty smell of fall wilderness that follows us through the woods.
- The abundance of wildlife sightings during our walks. (Check us out on Facebook to see the gorgeous deer we met on a hike!)
- Smiling at the collage of paw prints that we leave in the soft soil behind us.
- Watching with laughter at how frantically dogs search for their thrown sticks amongst leaf litter and downed branches.
- The comforting, beautiful orange and pink hues of sunrises and sunsets through the trees.
- The unbelievable attentiveness of dogs as leaves fall in the distance.
- That we get to experience these little amazing gifts each and every day for an entire month as your South Shore dog walkers!
Friday, October 11th, 2013
Pumpkin has been touted as a “super food” or “wonder food” for dogs for decades. So, what’s all the hype about? You may be surprised!
First, let’s set the record straight once and for all: pumpkin is actually a fruit, not a vegetable, as it comes from the gourd family of vine plants. What does this mean to your dog? Well, nothing really. Moving on…
Pumpkin is incredibly rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as beta-carotine, fiber, iron, zinc, carotenoids, potassium and vitamin A. This is our first major thumbs up! Since pumpkin is such a tasty source of fiber, it can be given to dogs who are both constipated (to pull water into the colon to help soften the stool) and who have diarrhea (to bulk up loose stools). For dogs who suffer from frequent anal gland issues, adding a small amount of pumpkin to their food each day helps keep their stool on the softer side which means that it’s more comfortable to pass.
And, also thanks to the fiber in pumpkin, it’s a low-calorie, great tasting treat that aids in weight-loss for dogs with a little extra…ahem, curves…since the fiber makes them feel fuller faster.
If you’re thinking about experimenting with adding pumpkin to your dogs diet – whether as a new staple or just as the occasional treat – here are our recommendations:
If you’re buying it in the store, make sure that it’s canned puree that’s 100% pumpkin and not the pumpkin pie mix. The pie mix has too much sugar and is higher in calories.
Your dog only needs a fairly small amount for it to do its job. Really, a half of a teaspoon to two teaspoons is all it takes and this should be adjusted based on your dog’s size. Obviously a Chihuahua may only need 0.5 teaspoon while a Mastiff may need 2 or 3 teaspoons. Put the unused portion into a sealed plastic container and keep it refrigerated. It can last for a while!
Last but certainly not least, it’s one of our favorite tricks as a professional pet sitter to use a small amount of pumpkin as a way to disguise medication. If you have a finicky dog who hates eating pills and is a master of extracting them from their food, add a small amount of pumpkin to their food and hide the pill inside of the ‘glob’. You, and your dog, will be happier campers!
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Number 5 – Compost
The compost pile in your yard or Mrs. Jones’ yard down the street, although is wonderful for many things, your pet’s health may not be one of them. Compost usually contains mycotoxin, a toxic secondary metabolite fungus that can cause concerning reactions in pets. What should you look out for? Strange symptoms such as agitation, panting and/or drooling that’s above the norm, hyperthermia and even seizures. In very young puppies or kittens, molds and fungi reactions may even consist of the inability to stand or walk. Compost piles are a fantastic place for your carved pumpkins, not your pets.
Number 4 – Low Visibility
With the beautiful fall season also comes the (not-so-beautiful?) loss of one extra hour of daylight each day. Our days are shorter and our nights are longer which means that our pets find themselves spending more time outdoors in the dark.
First, ensure that your dogs and cats have up to date custom pet tags with their name and your contact information on them. You wouldn’t believe how often we see pets with outdated information on their tag or pets without any tags at all. This small, almost seemingly insignificant thing may just be your pet’s only chance at a safe return should he find himself too far from home. We proudly recommend pet tags from The Sterling Pet due to their selection, quality, craftsmanship, price and warranties.
Second, consider purchasing a PupLight. These amazing lighted dog collars make dogs visible up to a mile away, scare away wild animals, make hazards such as uneven sidewalks, broken glass, dead animals and patches of ice visible several yards ahead, and even help senior dogs see a whole lot better! We can’t speak highly enough about these lights for dogs. It’s so important to ensure that your dog continues getting his regular, routine bouts of exercise and the PupLight helps make this easy to do!
Number 3 – Allergies
Fall can mean allergies for a lot of pets (and their people!). Mold, fungus, mildew, ragweed and certain tree pollens are at an all time high during this season and we’re constantly amazed at just how common it is to see pets allergic to these irritants. It’s also common to see pet owners mistaking environmental allergies for fleas despite not being able to find any live fleas on their pet. So, what should you be looking for exactly?
When dogs are suffering from environmental allergies, you will frequently see them rubbing their face on the carpet, chewing and licking their paws and legs, scratching near their armpits and on their sides, chewing near their hips and tail, and you may even notice that some areas of their face are red, puffy or swollen or their eyes being extra watery.
To help curb their allergic reactions, you’ll want to be mindful to gently wipe off their fur – especially sensitive areas such as their face, paws and in between their toes, as well as areas with more exposed skin such as their groin – with wet wipes or baby wipes each and every time they come in from being outside. Warm baths with oatmeal bath treatments can help sooth irritated and itchy skin. You will more than likely need to talk to your vet about proper allergy treatments, however, such as steroid medications.
Number 2 – Food and Candy, Oh My!
Who doesn’t love the festivities of fall? Halloween means tons of candy for the young and old alike and Thanksgiving means juicy turkey and warm pumpkin pie. But, for your pets, these goodies have some real hidden dangers.
Most pet owners know that candy and chocolate are a big ‘no-no’, but things such as raisins and sugar-free sweeteners are often overlooked as being harmless when that’s simply not the case as both are toxic to dogs. Keep the kids’ stash of candy far away from the reach of any pet in your home and be sure that your kids understand that even leaving a candy wrapper or a lollipop stick in a pet’s reach can cause intestinal blockage and even death.
When it comes to our Thanksgiving feast, we have to be careful not to overfeed our pets (quite like we do to ourselves!) although it’s certainly okay to share in moderation. Take care to avoid foods high in fat as they can cause pancreatic upset and digestion issues, never give any poultry bones to your dog as they splinter easily and make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise during and after the holidays to keep him from growing his own set of doggy love handles!
Number 1 – Poisoning
As people prepare their boats, cars and other vehicles for winter driving or winter storage, antifreeze becomes easier for pets to come across when out and about. The same goes for rodenticides as people begin to winterize their garages, basements, sheds and homes. Mothballs are frequently overlooked as being highly toxic to pets, as are a very wide variety of mushrooms found in yards and woods all throughout the US. (Mushrooms can be quite difficult to identify so we recommend that you treat any mushroom ingestion as potentially dangerous and contact your vet immediately). Plants such as mums, holly, amaryllis, mistletoe, poinsettia, Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus, American and European bittersweet, chrysanthemum, Christmas rose, Jerusalem cherry, autumn crocus, and burning bush are poisonous to pets.