Love Your Pet Day

Love Your Pet

Love Your Pet Today and Every Day

 Love Your Pet Day

For us every day is love your pet day.  We love our three dogs to the moon and back.  And what a joy it is to take care of so many other well loved pets. Have you told your pet that you love her lately?  Check out our nine awesome was to demonstrate that you love your pet.

Nine Awesome Ways to Demonstrate that You Love Your Pet

  • Let your pet know how much you love his species by volunteering with a pet rescue group. You can transport rescued dogs or cats from a shelter to a foster home, be a foster parent, build a fence for a chained dog, rescue a bird, volunteer at a shelter to take photos of homeless pets or share about lost pets on social media.  We bet you have lots more ideas. Share those ideas with us.
Love Your Pet

Foster Brittanys on a transport

 

  • Take your dogs on a hike. You can go on your own trail on your property, visit a state or national park or just take a stroll around your local park.  Your dogs will thank you for the opportunity for a change of scenery and better yet a change of aromas.
Love Your Pet

Luke shows Daisy Mae around our woods on her adoption day.

  • Brush your dogs’ and cats’ teeth every day.  Did you know that one way to show your pet that you love your pet is to assure they have teeth free of pain, plaque and tartar? Just like humans, dental health is important.  Infection in the mouth can get in the bloodstream and lead to serious damage to major organs.  Even more important, our dogs and cats can not tell us their teeth hurt and will probably try to hide their pain. The link at the beginning of this bullet point provides a self test about your knowledge regarding dental health and gives step by step instructions to teach your cat or dog to accept having their teeth brushed.
Love Your Pet

Our pet dental kit includes various styles of toothbrushes, toothpaste made for dogs and dental chews.

 

  • Play with your cats.  Contrary to popular belief cats do enjoy quality time with their humans. You can use flirt poles to get your cats to turn on their prey drives, spray catnip spray on tiny stuffed mice to get them to engage or drop a ping pong ball on the floor for them to bat around.  And what cat does not like to play in a bathroom sink with the water faucet on? Tell us what kind of play your cat most likes.
Love Your Pet

Nibbles loves to play if approached quietly and calmly.

 

  • Plant a cat grass garden for your cats.  This is particularly important for indoor only cats.  The grasses will stimulate their senses, give them something to nibble on, help to prevent hairballs, aid digestion and steer them away from potentially toxic house plants.
Love Your Pet

Tootsie enjoys her kitty garden.

 

  • Feed your pets the best quality food you can afford.  Prices of kibble ranges from very low to very high.  We know that you have to stay within your budget.  Check out an objective resource to learn what your pet needs and what is in the food you are buying. We recommend against buying your food at a big box retail store unless it specializes in pet supplies.  Two great local places to purchase pet food in the Lake Norman area are Village Paws and Claws in Mooresville and Huntersville and the Dog Supplies in Huntersville. You will find knowledgeable staff at these stores.  You will not find low quality food and that’s important. Both stores offer discounts.
    Love Your Pet

    Canned cat food provides necessary water content for your cats.

 

  • Learn about ways to make your home feel safe, comfortable and inviting for your cat.  Remember that cats love vertical spaces and don’t like to be backed into corners.  That’s why cat trees, elevated shelves and tunnels, and sunny windowsills make them so happy.  You can create “Cat TV” for them by placing a bird feeder outside a window they can easily see out of.  Go a few steps further and put a cat grass garden in the enlarged windowsill or bay window.  Add a scratching post nearby so your cat can keep his claws neatly trimmed and avoid shredding your furniture.
Love Your Pet

Cat lounging in window sill. All he needs is a view of a bird feeder!

 

  • Take your dogs on a pet friendly vacation. There are scores of beach and mountain rentals that accept dogs.  Our two favorite places to vacation with our dogs are Duck, NC on the NC Outer Banks and Hot Springs Log Cabins in the mountains of NC.
Love Your Pet

Daisy Mae and Trooper in Duck, NC.

 

  • Provide regular veterinary care for your pets.  Getting them examined yearly while young and more often when they are seniors ensures that you catch little problems before they become big problems. Regular immunizations and preventives for fleas, ticks and heart worm are essential. Those dental cleanings can be lifesavers tool. No one wants their pet to be in pain.  Our sweet senior Luke had his dental cleaning earlier this week. We had no idea that he had cracked a tooth and that infection had set in. Fortunately his tooth infection had not caused damage to his internal organs but sadly he did have to have a tooth extracted.  I shudder to think what would have happened if we had not gotten a routine dental cleaning for him.
Love Your Pet

Luke with Ms Kim at Village Animal Hospital in Mooresville. He was still a little glassy eyed after his extraction.




We would be remiss if we didn’t recommend that you hire a professional pet sitter when you must leave your pets at home.  We provide daily dog walking services and vacation pet sitting services in the Mooresville, Cornelius, Davidson and Mount Ulla communities.  Call us at 704-662-0973 to arrange a free meet and greet consultation.

Eleven Awesome Tips to Keep Your Pet From Gettiing Lost

  Here’s the Low Down on How To Keep Your Pet From Getting Lost

Pet owners post pictures and pleas for help about their lost pets on social media on a daily basis.  It’s always heartbreaking to read. There’s nothing like a little prevention to avoid the heartbreak and to keep your pet from getting lost.  Just in case the unthinkable does happen, please get your pet micro chipped and place a collar with ID on your pet.

keep your pet from getting lost

Lost Pet!

Awesome Tips to Keep Your Pet From Getting Lost

keep your pet from getting lost

Nice Catio

1. Keep your cats indoors unless you are actively supervising their time outdoors.

2. If your cats enjoy the fresh air, consider building a catio for them. The catio can be a very simple structure or more elaborate.  The catio pictured to the right was featured in Landscape Design in a Day.  Animal Planet provides plans for the DIY tribe.

3. When entering and exiting your home, do so carefully. If you enter via the garage, be sure the garage door is shut completely before entering the main part of the house.

4. When someone else is pet sitting for you remember that your cat is not as likely to come to them as they are to come to you. So ask your pet sitter to keep your cat inside.

5. If your dog has a fenced in yard, check the perimeter of the fence on a weekly basis to make sure there are no gaps or breaks in the fence. Always check your fence after extreme weather too.

6. Check the latches on the gates on the same schedule.

7. Supervise your dog while she is outside even if you do have a secure fence.

keep your pet from getting lost

Gate with Lock

8. Consider adding a lock on your gate so that any workers (utility, landscape, pesticide etc) need to check with you to gain access.

9. When walking your dog always use a leash that is 4 to 6 feet long. Attach the leash to a harness or head collar that attaches under the chin. Please see the Doggy Care page of our website for recommendations. NEVER use a retractable leash….. they are NOT safe.

10. If your dog uses a doggy door close it when you are asleep or away from home. When someone pet sits your dogs, leave the doggy door closed.  Remember that in addition to pets going missing on their own, people do steal dogs, particularly if they are unsupervised.

11. When your cat or dog is riding in your vehicle, make sure they are in a carrier or crate or harnessed in. Although studies have not indicated such devices protect your pet in a serious crash, they will keep your pet from jumping out a broken window or door. Also, unrestrained pets create a distraction that can lead to an accident.


Prevention is always the best action.  Watch for our post coming soon where we share awesome tips to find a lost pet. As a segue, we remind you to get your pet micro-chipped.  Your pet should wear a collar with ID when you leave the home with your pet. There is divided opinion regarding whether it is safe for your pet to wear a collar when at home, so you decide on that one.

Pet Celebration Days in October

October Rocks for Pet Celebration Days

Here’s the rundown.  Celebrate these pet celebration days where celebration is called for and take heed where action is needed.

Month Long October Celebrations

National Animal Safety and Prevention Month

With all the rain we have had lately, now is a good time to go on a search and destroy mission for wild mushrooms anywhere your dogs walk and play.  A former co-worker’s dog spent the night at an emergency animal hospital last night after eating wild mushrooms.  The dog had seizures as a result.  The same thing happened to the dog of a Facebook friend a week or so ago.  Sadly, Actor Dwayne Johnson’s puppy had to be put down after suffering extensive liver damage from eating wild mushrooms.

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

The ASPCA urges us to adopt a dog from a shelter.  We think that’s a great idea. We adopted our sweet Daisy Mae from National Brittany Adoption and Rescue Network (NBRAN) after they rescued her from Caldwell County Animal Shelter.

Sweet Daisy Mae

Sweet Daisy Mae

The ASPCA offers lots of tips about pet adoption.

The ASPCA tells us that approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats. Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner.

Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less than 5% of cats who came in as strays are returned to their owners.  About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.  That’s why we support spay and neutering your pets and adoption instead of buying a pet.

Adopt a Dog Month

The American Human Association declares October as Adopt a Dog Month.  They urge us to take the pledge to make our next dog addition an adoption either from a local shelter or a rescue organization.  The Amerian Humane Association recommends Pet Finder as a great place to start.  They remind us that nearly 3.7 million animals are euthznized every year in shelters. That’s a heart breaking statistic that we can all do something about.  Adopt, rescue, spay & neuter.

Dogs bring so much to our lives. They love us unconditionally, encorage us to exercise and bring us lots of laughs. For that matter, cats bring us lots of laughs too…they just don’t show their love in quite the same way.  Here are some of the dogs and cats we have known and loved during the early days of our pet sitting business (along with a photo of our three).

PSX_20140816_193829 PSX_20150901_144043 Billy and pets PSX_20150319_123846 PSX_20150601_001749 PSX_20150901_143740 PSX_20150901_145841 PSX_20150901_145308dozer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Weeks in October

October 1 – 7  –  National Walk Your Dog Week

National Walk Your Dog Week was founded by  Pet Lifestyle Expert & Animal Behaviorist “Colleen Paige” October is usually a great month for walking out of doors. What better way to get the exercise you and your dog need while strenthening the bond between you and your dog! Let this be a habit that starts you on daily walks with your dog.  For those days that you cannot walk your dog due to work and family obligations consider hiring a dog walker.  National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) and Pet Sitters International (PSI) both offer free professional pet sitter/professional dog walker locater services.

October 11- 17  –  National Veterinary Technician Week

Just as nurses and others in the human medical field are indispensable, so are veterinary technicians indispensable to the field of veterinary medicine.  Checck them out on FaceBook and remember to thank them the next time you take your pet to the vet!

vet techs

Special Days in October

We have four special pet celebration days in October.

October 4     World Animal Day

On their website the fouders of World Animal Day tell us about their mission:

To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilising it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals.  It’s celebrated in different ways in every country, irrespective of nationality, religion, faith or political ideology.  Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are always recognised as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.

world animal day

 

October 14    National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

Did you know that 28% of all cats studied in 2014 were obese? Did you know that 17% of all dogs studied in 2014 were obese?  Another 30% of cats were overweight and another 35% of all dogs were overweght.

Excess weight in pets leads to Osteoarthritis, Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart and Respiratory Disease, Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury, Kidney Disease, Many Forms of Cancer and Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years).

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention offers these tools to help you help your dog or cat get back to a healthy weight. It takes conscious effort on our parts to accomplish these goals. You can start with simple steps such as feeding your pets on a schedule instead of free feeding them.  Measure the amount of food you provide.  Remember the calories in treats count too.  Perhaps your dog could achieve a sense of satisfaction with a half cup of green beans added to his half cup of kibble instead of a full cup of kibble.

Get active with your pet. You can play chase games with your cat and provide climbing towers for him.  Remember earlier we talked about walking with your dog? That’s a win win for both of you.

Dr. Nancy Kay, on her blog, Speaking for Spot, offers sage advice.

 

October 16    National Feral Cat Day

NFCD_3Sections_Join

On their website, Alley Cat Allies provides sobering facts.

  • Cats have lived alongside humans for more than 10,000 years. They are part of the natural landscape. Feral cats are the same species as pet cats. Feral cats, also called community or outdoor cats, live in groups called colonies and can thrive in every landscape. They are just as healthy as pet cats, but they are not socialized to humans and are therefore unadoptable.
  • Trap-Neuter-Return—a humane approach to managing and caring for community cats—is the only effective method of stabilizing cat colonies. In the last decade, the number of local governments with official policies endorsing TNR has increased tenfold, with hundreds of cities and towns successfully carrying out TNR programs.
  • However, in the majority of cities, cats are still caught and brought to animal pounds and shelters where they are killed. The shelter system is the number one cause of death for cats in the United States. About 70% of cats who enter shelters are killed there, including virtually 100% of feral cats. That’s why it’s so important for people like you to join us for National Feral Cat Day®, and every day, to help change society and create compassionate communities for cats.

You can help change this by working locally to reduce the feral cat population.  Get involved with Lake Norman Lucky Cat Program to help.

 

October 29    National Cat Day

On their website, the folks at National Cat Day suggest 20 ways to celebrate the day.  If you decide to commission the portrait of your cat, we recommend Karen Dorchesty at Haute Dauge Portraits.  1908369_434803663311547_3989341091501783072_nhautedaugue

 

 

 

 

 

 

We agree with their recommendation to write your congressional representative urging the banning of euthnasia by gas chamber throughout the United States.  And, if you decide to try the idea of donating needed items to a shelter or rescue organization please consider donating to our Presents 4 Pets 2015 campaign.


There you have it folks.  Enjoy those special Pet Celebration Days in October!

 

Seven New Puppy Solutions

Those New Puppy Woes

That new puppy is sooooo adorable until he …

  • chews your favorite pair of shoes
  • poops on the carpet
  • digs up your flower bed
  • keeps you awake all night.

If that sounds familar or you simply want to avoid those woes, read on.

Seven New Puppy Solutions

Plan ahead.  Bringing home a new family member is very important.  It requires some thinking ahead and should not be an impulse decision.  We all know what happens when we look into those big brown puppy eyes and just melt. puppy_eyes-2Once you meet the puppy it is next to impossible to leave him behind. Decide if your current lifestyle can accomodate the needs of a puppy. If not, consider adopting a slightly older dog or postpone your dog parent days until later.


Decide what size and breed puppy you want. Do you have   your heart set on a specific breed?  Do you want to adopt a mixed breed dog? What activities do you want to do with your dog?  If you want a dog to take on hikes a Chihuahua is probably not the right dog for you.  If you want a lap dog, it’s best not to choose a German Shepherd.  What about shedding?  Do you or your family members have allergies?  These are all important considerations when choosing the right type, size, temperment and breed of dog for your household. Dog Time provides an easy and short survey to get you started on the process.  Just for fun I took the survey. The closest match I got to the dogs that own us was the English Cocker Spaniel. We have a Brittany and two English Springer Spaniels.  But it got me thinking about my preferred characteristics in dogs for my later years when my lifestyle changes.


Prepare your home and yard.  Now that you have decided on the right type, size, temperment and breed dog you want, prepare your home and yard for the new puppy.  Take a good look around and think sort of like a new human parent. Pick up all the clutter that is laying around.  You don’t want to have to replace cherished items and certainly don’t want your puppy eating something dangerous to her.  Will you need to install puppy gates on some doors?  What rooms have tile or hardwood floors?  That’s important when considering puppy ah, er, eh…elimination! Where is the best place for dog beds and crates?  What kind of toys will your puppy need? Where will you feed your puppy? Does your yard contain plants that are dangerous to dogs?  Is your yard fenced or will you need to always take your dog out on leash?


best-way-to-house-train-a-puppyLearn how to house train your new puppy before you bring him home. This tip applies to any age dog that you adopt. Even if the dog was previously trained, he has to learn the boundaries in your home. Remember that puppy bladders are small and that they have to not only develop physical control but also learn where it is ok to go potty.  Depending on the size puppy, previous history and environmental conditions it takes between 4 months and a year to fully potty train a new puppy.  You can begin the process around 12 weeks of age when your puppy has developed bladder and bowel control. Dog Care Knowledge  offers great suggestions on how to house train your new puppy. Remember to take your puppy out after every nap, after he plays, after he eats, just before bedtime and as soon as he wakes in the morning.  If you are using a crate, the maximum length of time your 2 months old puppy can “hold it” is 2 hours; at 3 months he can “hold it” for a maximum of 3 hours and at 4 months he can “hold it” for a maximum of 4 hours.

The Housebreaking Bible has a nifty housetraining schedule you may want to adapt.


 

Research what kind of food to feed your growing puppy.  It seems there are a million choices of nutritional plans to adapt for your new four legged family member.  You can feed your growing puppy homemade food, frozen raw food, canned dog food or manufactured kibble.  A good rule of thumb is to use the best food you can afford. Opinions vary on what is best but for the most part we know the least expensive brands of kibble contain a lot of fillers.  Those extra fillers create a lot of waste which you will see in your dog’s poop. You will most likely have to feed more of the lower quality foods so will not save as much money as you might anticipate.  Be sure to remember that a highger quality diet will result in fewer illnesses for your dog and thus less costly vet bills. A great place to research and compare dog foods is the Dog Food Advisor.


Jade loves her walks

Jade loves her walks

A tired dog is a happy dog and a good dog.  It’s unrealistic to expect a puppy to occupy himself all day while you commute to and from work, take a lunch hour and actually work 8 hours.  And remember our notes above on how long a puppy can “hold it.”  So know ahead of time you will need to share the “letting out” tasks with someone. Perhaps you can take an early lunch time and someone else in the household can take a later lunch time so you can both come home to take the puppy out.  Maybe you can staggger your work hours to accomplish those same tasks.  If you have a reliable neighbor that’s another idea.

Pet sitters and dog walkers offer their services so you may want to research the Pet Sitter Locaters offered by Pet Sitters International or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.  Choosing a professsional who is reliable, trustworthy, bonded and insured will likely save you money in the long run.  Most pet sitters offer a variety of services including daily dog walks and vacation pet sitting services. What starts as a puppy potty break may very well grown into a daily dog walk and vacation pet sitting servivces too.  Patricia McConnell, noted applied animal beaviorist offers her opionion on hiring a dog walker.  We liked her article and commented on her blog post discussing our services.

If your puppy is to be an only dog you may also want to consider taking her to doggy day care one or two days per week to assure she has good socialization skills with other dogs. Patricia McConnell, offers an excellent view regarding how to evaluate if your dog is suited for a doggy day care and how to find the right doggy day care.

No matter what choice you make, assure that the person or people taking care of your dog are meeting her physical needs for a potty break and a snack, getting some exercise and enjoying some one on one brushing, stroking or play time. Be sure the care giver is familar with dog body language, is mature and responsible, reliable and capabe of using good judgement.  Pet first aid and CPR training is a must too.  It’s important that any one who takes care of your dog shares your philosophy on how to treat your dog. We prefer positive based training and interactions and are very clear with prospective clients about our methods.


clicker training your puppyWho will teach you to train your dog?  That’s right, we said who will teach you now to train your dog, not who will train your dog. It’s your responsibility to do the training and oh so rewarding when you see your bond deepen as your dog learns to trust you.  Training is best done in tiny little “bites” of five minutes or so multiple times during the day.  Incorporating training into play time and meal time and bed time and all the “times” works great to have a positive dog-human bond.

While we don’t advocate board and train schools, we do recommend that you participate in at least a puppy class with your new puppy and in a family companion type class as your puppy gets older or if you have adopted an older dog. The Association for Force-Free Pet Professionals offers a directory of trainers who use postive reinforcement methods.  An excellent resource for finding a good dog trainer is the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Note that you will need to research if these professionals use force free methods only or also incorporate other methods in their training.  We heartily endorse clicker training.


Now go out there and enjoy the next decade or more with your new family member!!

 

Part Time Employees Needed: Professional Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

We will be hiring two part time employees in the near future.  Currently we are developing the employee handbook, dotting i’s and crossing t’s and generally setting up the legal structure to hire the right employees to help us take care of your pets.

If you meet our qualifications (or know someone who does), please contact us. It goes almost without saying that the right person loves animals, but there is a great more to it than love. Basic qualifications are as follows:

  • Honest, trustworthy, reliable and mature
  • Able to pass a background check including drug screen, criminal record and driving record
  • Have reliable transportation
  • Able to use technology (on line records, on line scheduling, email)
  • Detail oriented
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Flexible, friendly and courteous
  • Willing to learn pet first aid and CPR (no cost to the employee)
  • Physically able to provide care for cats, birds, small caged pets, fish tanks, small outdoor fish ponds and all breeds of dogs (scooping kitty litter boxes, walking dogs, picking up dog poop, feeding all pets, playing with pets)
  • Available two weekends per month (Saturday and Sunday) and at least one weekday per week
  • Available for a portion of all major holiday weeks (New Year’s, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas)
  • Available from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM or from 1:30 PM to 9:30 PM
  • Acknowledges there are no guaranteed number of pet sitting visits during any shift
  •   

Jade loves her walks

   If you are an awesome professional pet sitter/dog walker  or know someone who is an awesome professional pet sitter/dog walker contact us now.      email info@coddlecreekpetservices.com

PSX_cat220150425_160422

It’s Easy to Pick Up the Dog Poop

How Easy is It to Pick Up the Dog Poop?

Believe it or not, incredibly easy. So what brought about this post AKA rant?  Last Wednesday afternoon Daisy Mae and I walked at Bellingham Park.  Daisy Mae and I like walking there because the basic loop around the park is approximately a mile so we can pretty easily measure how far we walked.  There’s a variety of plants for me to look at. For Daisy Mae there are lots of aromas to sniff and plenty of bunnies to stalk.  There are two neighborhoods that connect directly to the park for added variety on our walks when we feel like walking longer distances.

But when we walked last Wednesday, Daisy Mae also had lots more sniffing opportunities than usual. It seemed that every few feet we walked there were piles of dog poop on the side of the paved trail.  Certainly we were pleased the dog poop was not on the paved trail, but really folks it’s easy to pick up the dog poop!

As professional pet sitters and dog walkers Billy and I always carry poop pick up bags.  You would be amazed at the variety of bags: scented, biodegradable, printed, plain black.  They come in cute little dog poop bag purses and there are little purses to put the full bags in till you find a trash can! At Bellingham Park there is even a dog poop bag dispenser.  PhotoGrid_1421031290069

We frequently walk dogs at condominiums and apartment complexes too. And amazingly, most of them have similar dispensers located at multiple places on the property.  Those with dog parks even have dispensers mounted on the fences inside the dog parks.  It never fails to amaze me to find dog poop on the AstroTurf inside the dog parks and in the grass within a foot of the poop bag dispensers and trash cans.

You would think it wasn’t easy to pick up the dog poop. But it’s easy to pick up the dog poop.  We aren’t certain if people are just gross or are uneducated.  Being the eternal optimists, we choose to believe they are uneducated.  So we are going to lay out a few facts about dog poop.

Facts About Dog Poop

  • Pet waste left on the ground gets swept into storm drains and flows to the local waterways without being treated (NC Environmental Education)
  • Stormwater pollutants end up in the water we swim in, fish from and draw water from (Lake Norman anyone?) (Know Where It Goes)
  • Roundworms, E. coli, and Giardia are some of the parasites that can infect humans. The infectious agents can last four years (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services).
  • Attracts flies and other undesirable insects
  • Makes the yard a yucky place to play
  • Is not suitable for fertilizer or compost (Gardening Know How)
  • Can be eaten by your dogs (who later kiss you!)

I don’t know about you, but for me that last fact seals the deal. Here’s hoping everyone will pick up the dog poop when out walking in public areas as well as in their own yards.

Dogs-dress-up-for-Poop-Fairy-photo-contest

 

 

 

Take a Hike with Your Dogs in North Carolina

Take a Hike with Your Dogs

Did you make New Year’s resolutions to get fit?  Did you resolve to spend more quality time with your dog?  If so, have we ever got a host of recommendations to help you fulfill both resolutions!  Whether you call it hiking, or walking, there is an abundance of trails all over North Carolina that are dog friendly.  So, get ready to take a hike with your dog.

 

NC State Parks

Our all time favorite place to hike with our dogs is Lake Norman State Park  (http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/lano/activities.php).  We are fortunate to live near the park and often hike there with our dogs. We enjoy the Lake Shore Trail because of the frequent views of the lake.  There are several sandy beach-like areas where we can take the dogs off leash and let them fetch the tennis balls out of the water.  Just be prepared for a smelly wet dog on the ride home. We are offering true confession here that we do let our very well behaved dogs off leash briefly, but always with our leashes in hand.  When park visitors approach us on the trail, we leash our dogs and cue them to sit until the other hikers have gone past us.  We get lots of positive comments about our sweet beautiful well behaved dogs.  We heartily recommend you take a hike with your dogs at Lake Norman State Park.

Hiking at Lake Norman State Park

Hiking at Lake Norman State Park

 

Our 2nd most favorite hiking spot is Stone Mountain State Park (http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/stmo/activities.php).  When hiking with our dogs we enjoy the Widow’s Creek Trail.  The trail runs along the side of a stream for much of the way.  This trail is not heavily populated with other hikers and that enhances the serenity and peace.  That makes it a great trail for hiking with your dogs.

Tell us your favorite places to take a hie with your dog!

 

Our Own Backwoods

We are fortunate to have a wooded area on our property. Billy has created our very own hiking trails in the woods.  Our three dogs love exploring the woods off leash with us. All dogs benefit from daily walks.  Walking or hiking with your dogs increases the bond between you and your dogs. If your schedule or health does not permit walking with your dogs on a daily basis we are available to take them on a daily outing.  We will walk in your neighborhood on leash.  We are available to give your dog his needed potty break and outdoor exploration time.  Having an opportunity to get out of his own yard and sniff all the smells a few blocks away does wonders for your dog’s disposition. Call us today to arrange your free meet and greet.

 

New Year’s Resolutions for Pet Parents

Those Pesky New Year’s Resolutions

Yes, you know what we’re talking about.  The resolve to lose weight, get more organized, exercise more, get on a regular sleep schedule and so on. All those self improvement resolutions.  How’s that been working out for you?  Not so well you say.  Maybe it’s time to incorporate your pets’ needs into your New Year’s resolutions for a new twist. Here are our top 10 New Year’s resolutions for pet parents.

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Pet Parents

  1. Walk with your dog every day. Play games with your cat.
  2. Brush your teeth twice a day…..and brush Fido and Fluffy’s’s teeth once a day.
  3. Measure your food…..and measure your pets’ portions too.
  4. Play with your dog and cat every day.
  5. Go to bed at a similar time every night and get up at a similar time every morning.  Your dog will happily serve as your lights out monitor every night and alarm clock every morning.
  6. Keep Spot’s brain active with training a few minutes every day. Keep your own brain active by learning how to positively train your cat and dog.
  7. Practice relaxation habits while brushing your pets’ coats every day.
  8. Disengage from electronics for at least one hour every evening.  That’s a great time to walk with your dog, train your cat or brush their coat or teeth.
  9. A place for everything and everything in its place.  That applies to your “stuff” as well as your pets’ blankets, toys, food bowls and beds. Heck, maybe you can train your dog to put his toys in the toy basket every evening.
  10. Laugh every day at the antics of your pets.

 How These New Year’s Resolutions for Pet Parents Benefit You and Your Pets

If you follow New Year’s resolutions for pet parents,  you and your pets will be more relaxed, healthier and happier.  Exercise benefits all species. Walking your dog (or cat too) provides benefits for physical and mental health, reduces negative behavior and helps with sleep. (http://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/general_health/top-ten-health-benefits-walking-your-pet-provides) There is nothing better for bonding with your dog than a daily walk.  You will both release endorphins, get your blood flowing, increase strength, burn calories and enhance your brain power. ( http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389 )

Our general health overall health is affected by our dental health. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475 ).  Just as we need to brush our teeth regularly, out pets need good dental care too. (http://www.petmd.com/cat/slideshows/grooming/top-ten-tips-on-how-to-keep-your-cats-teeth-clean)

It does take practice and patience to introduce teeth brushing, but you will be rewarded with a healthier pet.  Never use human toothpaste, instead purchase toothpaste made for cats and dogs. There are substances in human toothpaste that are harmful to pets if swallowed and our pets don’t know to spit out the toothpaste.

dog-toothpaste

cat-toothpaste

When introducing teeth brushing to your pet, start slow.  Put some pet toothpaste on your finger and allow your pet to lick it off.  The next day put some pet toothpaste on a piece of gauze or pet toothbrush and allow your pet to lick the toothpaste.  Continue with this until your pet appears eager to get a taste of toothpaste.  Then you can introduce placing the toothbrush with toothpaste on the outside of your pet’s teeth. Be sure to go at a pace that is comfortable for your pet.

The best exercise is to use our fingers to push back from the table. That’s far easier if we measure our portions and stick to a nutritionally appropriate and balanced diet. The same thing applies to our pets.  It’s up to us to prevent or treat pet obesity because our pets can’t make these decisions on their own. (http://www.ideas4ag-ed.com/uploads/3/7/0/4/3704787/craig_kohn_treating_and_preventing_pet_obesity.pdf)

In our connected, go go go world, relaxation and appreciation of nature become even more important.  Take that break from the television, computer or smart phone and truly engage with your dog or cat.  Taking a walk, brushing your pet, playing an active game of fetch or engaging your cat in mind games indoors will rejuvenate all of you. This is an ideal time to incorporate a few minutes of training into your daily routine with your pets. Just be sure to make it fun and positive.  We especially like clickers for the training activities. (https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/clicker-training-your-pet)

Be sure to laugh every day.  We never tire of watching Luke, Daisy Mae and Trooper’s antics.  We are especially blessed to be able to take care of lots of pets in our pet sitting business and have lots of opportunities for laughter in our daily work.

Luke is obsessed with tennis balls

Luke is obsessed with tennis balls

Jade loves her walks

Jade loves her walks

 

It’s a Delicate Subject…but….we all need to pick up the dog poop.

…we all need to pick up the dog poop.

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Not only is it disgusting to step in, but it’s unsanitary. Do you really want your dogs to carry waste back inside your house on their paws? Do you really want to carry it inside on the soles of your shoes? What about your children and their hand to mouth habit? Do you know that dog poop frequently contains E. coli, tapeworms, roundworms, giardia, parvo, salmonella, hookworms and a host of other horrors?  YUCK!!  That’s why …we all need to pick up the dog poop.

 

PICK-UP-POO

Then there is the matter of pollution of our waterways.  Dog waste left in your yard, at the local park or on the trails at Lake Norman State Park will make its way into the water.  According to the EPA the decaying of your pets’ poop creates nutrients that weeds and algae thrive on. These unwanted plants choke out the oxygen and do harm to the fish.

It is really pretty simple to use a scoop in your own yard or doggie waste bags on your walk. The unused waste pick up bags can be tied on your dog’s leash, or carried in your waist pack. You can carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket too. Simply stop when the dog goes potty, pick up the waste with the plastic bag over your hand and turn the bag inside out and tie it shut. Deposit in the nearest public trash can.

earth-rated-poop-bags-300ct

I prefer the scented waste bags because dog poop really stinks, but the important thing is that you always carry pick up bags when you take your dog anywhere and that you regularly pick up your own yard (preferably every 24 hours). By the way, dog poop is not a good fertilizer for your yard so please don’t scatter it with your lawn mower. If you are not physically able to pick up the poop from your yard there are companies who provide this service. Please get that scooping going!!Cool

Author:  Beth Leatherman Harwell
Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC
www.coddlecreekpetservices.com

Spring Time Around Lake Norman with Dogs in Tow

For the first weekend in a very long time we did not have any pet sitting assignments so we enjoyed a stay-cation with our three fur babies.  Living near Lake Norman is a blessing…and the weather this weekend was perfect.

On Saturday Luke and I dropped in at the Open House at Main Street Veterinary Hospital in Cornelius.  What a nice place that is.  We saw lots of evidence of teddy bear surgery and teddy bear dental work.  It was my first time in the surgical suite of a veterinary hospital and I was impressed.  Luke is an old hand at dental cleanings so he did not flinch at all.

After we left “surgery” we meandered down to Davidson and caught the tail end of Davidson Town Day. Luke took a few snapshots of the giant stacks of books outside the library.

Gives new meaning to going in the stacks

Gives new meaning to going in the stacks

While Luke and I were out and about Trooper and Daisy Mae helped Daddy with yard work.

Sunday was another great day so the humans took Trooper and Daisy Mae to Lake Norman State Park for a hike.

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

Luke stayed home to guard the homestead.  We love the 3 mile trail along the lake shore but we were all worn out by the time we returned home. Hiking with these two is different from our hikes with Luke and our late Beau.  Daisy Mae and Trooper were well behaved but clearly need a little more trail certification training!

Trooper shows us he knows how to swim.

Trooper shows us he knows how to swim.

All in all we enjoyed our stay-cation.  Now we are ready to get back to pet sitting and dog walks on a little more even terrain (and shorter routes than 3 miles).

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Pack Walk to Celebrate 1st Day of Spring

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Just a walk in the park.