Dog Sitting – Contact Us Today!

[maxbutton id=”14″ ] [maxbutton id=”13″ ]  Dog Sitting – Contact Us Today!

Dog sitting is the perfect choice for dogs who can safely be allowed to roam the house in your absence.  

When you choose Coddle Creek Pet Services for your dog sitting needs, a member of the Coddle Creek Team visits with your dog at least three times per day. While in your home we give your dog companionship, fresh food & water and an opportunity for exercise & potty time. Visit our Doggy Care page for full details.

Dog Sitting – A Few of Our Happy Dogs!

dog sitting

Milo

dog sitting

Lulu with “Aunt Beth”

 

dog sitting

Jesse

dog sitting

The Harwell Trio – Coddle Creek Team Members Take Care of Luke, Daisy Mae and Trooper When We Are Out of Town

dog sitting

Belle

dog sitting

Max and Sophie

Options for Dog Sitting

We know you have lots of options for pet sitting services for your dogs when you are out of town.  Those choices range from the kid next door, the adult next door, a relative, a kennel, in home boarding, the vet’s kennel, a hobby sitter or a professional pet sitter.

No one option is hands down the best option for all pets.  Your budget may require that you ask a relative or neighbor to look after your pets while you are away. Your dogs may not have left “puppy stage” yet and require crating when not supervised. Although crating might be ok for a weekend, it’s not an ideal situation for a week long vacation. 

Your dog may experience separation anxiety and do better in an in home boarding situation. Your dog may have multiple medical issues and do better with medical boarding.

Professional Pet Sitting

Fortunately most adult dogs do great with a professional pet sitter who comes to your home to provide care for your dogs. If your budget allows it we highly recommend you opt for a professional choice whether you choose in your home professional pet sitting, in-home boarding with a professional, a professional licensed kennel or a veterinarian.

When exploring your options ask about bonding, professional liability insurance, Pet First Aid and CPR training, year round full time availability, and methods of communication while you are away.

If you live in our service area of Mooresville, NC, Mount Ulla, NC, Davidson, NC or Cornelius, NC we invite you to explore our full web site and call or email us for further information.  

If you live out of our service area we recommend you use the pet sitter locator from Pet Sitters International or National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.

Did You Adopt a Cat Over Christmas?

How to Adopt a Cat and Live Peacefully Afterwards

If you are ready to adopt a cat or recently adopted a cat we bet you know cat adoption is rewarding, fun and life saving. Congratulations on bringing that kitty home with you! Here are some tips to get everything off to a great start.

adopt a cat

Chester getting a drink

Socialization  First of all recognize that cats do like human companionship. Although they like to hunt alone they are not the solitary creatures we once envisioned them to be. Be sure to take time to teach your cat to play and interact with you. Pam Johnson-Bennett offers great advice in her book CatWise regarding socializing with other cats, with dogs and with humans.

Declawing  If your new family member has not been declawed we urge you to forego that procedure. Declawing is the amputation of the first joint of all the cats’ digits and is extremely painful. Some cats suffer tenderness in their paws forever. If your cat has been declawed, please don’t let him outside.  He can no longer protect himself without claws.

Scratching  So what to do to protect your furniture from being shredded after you adopt a cat? Recognize that cats scratch to get good shoulder stretches, when excited about something pleasant and to displace tension.

Purchase or make a sisal covered scratching post. Make sure the scratching post is tall enough for your cat to fully stretch his shoulders. You may find it helpful to place the post near the corner of a sofa so it’s handy for your kitty. There are also scratching pads that hang from a doorknob and corrugated cardboard scratching pads that sit horizontally on the floor.  

Litter Boxes  If you live in a multi-level home be sure to have at least one litter box on each level. It’s also a good idea to have one more litter box than you have cats.  Recognize that cats are fastidious creatures and don’t like to use dirty litter boxes.  It’s ideal to scoop the litter two times a day, but please scoop at least one time each day. Remember that cats’ noses are sensitive so unscented litter is the best idea.

Exercise and Nutrition   A fat cat is not healthy so give your cat opportunities for exercise. Did you know you can even clicker train your cat to walk in a kitty harness on a leash? Think vertically so your cat has places to climb and to feel safe. Jackson Galaxy in his book Catification offers lots of innovative solutions. 

Arden Moore writing in her book Fit Cat reminds us that cats need encouragement to remain hydrated. Bubbling water fountains encourage cats to drink water. Canned food or sodium free broth added to kibble will encourage cats to get greater water intake. Cats are obligate carnivores so need protein from chicken, beef, lamb, salmon, turkey or tuna. Avoid meat or poultry by-products.

adopt a cat

This is a cool product

Indoor Happiness In addition to vertical spaces and scratching posts, consider adding a kitty garden and toys to your cats’ space. There are multiple options available but we like SmartCat Kitty’s Garden. Toys run the gamut from crinkled foil and cardboard boxes to tunnels and feather wand toys and laser pointers.  Allow your cat to “catch” the prey to provide satisfaction. Remember to provide a variety of kitty beds and leave her carrier out. If she can go in and out of her carrier at will she will be less likely to hide when it’s time to visit the vet.

Veterinary Care Cats need routine veterinary care for a variety of reasons. Your cat can live a long healthy comfortable and happy life with regular check ups, necessary vaccinations, and dental cleanings. It’s a lot less expensive to be proactive than reactive too. 

Pet Sitting  When you initially adopt a cat it’s best to let your cat become accustomed to her new environment and comfortable in her surroundings. Try not to travel too soon after you bring your new kitty home.  But eventually we know you will need to travel for business or pleasure.  We recommend you hire a professional pet sitter so your cat can stay in the comfort of home.

We offer cat sitting in your home. Our service area includes all of Mooresville 28115 and parts of Mooresville 28117, parts of Mt. Ulla, Davidson and parts of Cornelius. If you reside out of our service area check out the pet sitter locators in Pet Sitters International and National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.

adopt a cat

Where to Adopt a Cat

If you are ready to add a cat to your family please choose adoption. If you live in the Lake Norman area we recommend the following places to find sweet and needy cats.

Iredell County Animal Services

Catering to Cats and Dogs

Lake Norman Animal Rescue

Lake Norman Humane

Cornelius Animal Shelter

How to Protect Your Picture Frames and Glass Items from Your Cat

Cats Gone Wild

The term “cats gone wild” conjures up all sorts of images. Maybe you picture a cat attacking a person or dog. Maybe you picture a cat knocking all the soap and shampoo bottles into the bath tub.  Maybe you picture a cat knocking other cats down the steps. Maybe you picture a cat resisting your efforts to give it a pill.

cats gone wild

Uncle Billy cuddling innocent Angelo

Our story of cats gone wild is much more mundane. Several weeks ago I was on a pet sitting visit with Angelo, one of the cats we take care of on a regular basis. Angelo had gone upstairs and I was downstairs writing my note for his humans. Suddenly I heard a crashing sound. Fearing the worst, I went upstairs and discovered he had knocked over a picture frame on the edge of a table.  I moved all the photos to the other end of the table and hoped for the best.

That incident reminded me of another time when Toby, another one of our cat clients was chasing his sisters through the house. He leaped on the kitchen island and knocked over a beautiful glass figurine.  It shattered into what seemed like a million pieces.  I picked them all up (with broom and then damp paper towels) and carefully inspected all the cats to make sure no one got cut.

Museum Wax

cats gone wild

Museum Wax

Both these incidents made me think about solutions to prevent cats from knocking things over, particularly things that break.  After a little research I found an article in cathealth.com. The solution..tada….museum putty or museum wax! Brilliant!!

You can buy museum wax or museum putty at stores like Home Depot, Lowes,  Ace Hardware and crafts stores. There are numerous brand names.  In addition to holding ceramic and other breakable items in place you can use it to secure a picture frame to the wall.

Museum wax will not only keep your breakables safe from your cats, it will keep them safe from your small children and clumsy adults.  It’s a win-win-win situation.

Six Facts Your Cat Wants You to Know About Kitty Litter Boxes

6 Facts Your Cat Wants You to Know About Kitty Litter Boxes

We love to look at pet designated days, weeks and months.  Earlier this month we noticed that January 22 is National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day.  The day is designed to remind us to pay attention to what our cats are trying to tell us in the only language they have. Rather than simply being annoyed when your cat pees outside the litter box, scratches your sofa or meows incessantly, you are encouraged to think about the issue from your cat’s perspective.  With thoughts about what your cats might ask we offer 6 facts your cat wants you to know about kitty litter boxes.


 Fact # 1 About Kitty Litter Boxes:  Cats prefer their litter boxes to be located in quiet places.

Unfortunately, many cat owners place the kitty litter boxes in the laundry room which is extremely noisy when the washer goes into spin.  Add to that the sound of the dryer when the dryness sensor goes off. And just imagine what happens if the washer goes out of balance just when your cat is using the litter box!  Those scary noises can negatively impact your cat’s willingness to use his litter box.


 

Fact # 2 About Kitty Litter Boxes:  Cats don’t like scented kitty litter.

Their noses are extremely sensitive and your cat may find the aroma you like quite distasteful.  There’s another reason for your cat to avoid the litter box.  Nobody wants that.


Fact # 3 About Kitty Litter Boxes:  Cats like clean litter boxes.

Think about how you feel if you go to use the toilet and there’s “stuff” in it. Cats with their keen sense of smell are easily put off by the odors from the litter box.  It’s best to scoop the litter box after every use, but that may not be practical.  However; it’s pretty easy to get on a daily or twice daily litter scooping schedule.  Your cat’s nose as well as your own will appreciate the effort.


Fact # 4 About Kitty Litter Boxes:  The standard to strive for is one litter box per cat + 1.

If your house has multiple levels, please put at least one litter box on each level of your house.  How would you feel if you had to run from the second floor all the way to the basement every time you needed to go potty???   By having multiple litter boxes each cat can choose his or her favorite “bathroom.”  If some of your cats prefer different types of litter you can easily use the preferred kind in that cat’s preferred litter box location.  The same thing regarding covered or uncovered litter boxes is true.  It will probably take some experimentation to find the just right combo. But it’s so worth it to keep a beloved family member happy for his 15 – 20 years of life.


 

Fact # 5 About Kitty Litter Boxes:  Cats don’t like eating in their bathrooms.

Just imagine how you would feel if your dining table was next to your toilet!  Not particularly appetizing is it?  It’s best to locate your cat’s food and water bowls in or near the kitchen and to place their litter boxes in the bathroom or in open door closets in quiet low traffic bedrooms or perhaps even in your home office.


 

Fact # 6 About Kitty Litter Boxes:  Sometimes kitty litter box issues are indicators of medical problems.

And…these medical problems can be life threathening particularly when it involves a urinary track blockage in make cats.  Read the blog by our friend and colleauge Rita Reimers the Cat Analyst regarding a cat with a urinary tract blockage.

Rita is a trusted colleague who also offers cat sitting services in the Charlotte area.


When you next need kitty sitting services call us at 704-662-0973. We provide kitty care services for residents in Mooresville, Cornelius, Davidson and Mt Ulla, NC who live within 8 miles of our home base. Check out our kitty sitting page to learn more.

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.

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!!

 

Meeting the Needs of Your Cats

What Do Cats Need?

In mid April I had the pleasure of traveling to Atlanta to attend a two day conference of the Cat Division of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).  Presenters provided information on a wide range of topics including cat nutrition, successful dog – cat interactions, handling aggressive cats, social organization and communication in the cat, compulsive grooming issues, understanding medications veterinarians prescribe and using humane handling and behavior therapy to reduce stress among cats in shelters. In a nutshell, attendees learned about meeting the needs of your cats.

Nibbles

Nibbles

Steve Dale, who delivered the keynote address reminded us that there are more cats in US households than dogs, yet their needs are often overlooked. More cats are given up to shelters than dogs, yet fewer are adopted from the shelters. The most often cited reason for giving up a cat is behavior issues including litter box issues and negative behavior between the cats in a household.

For a long time we humans have believed that cats are independent and non social.  This is just not true. We need to learn to watch for the more subtle cues cats give off when they want to interact and just how they interact.  It’s important for cats of all ages to have toys to play with and to have your home arranged in a welcoming manner for cats.  No, you don’t have to do over your entire home, but consider putting a cat tower in a room, a couple of scratching posts near the furniture you want to protect and some tunnel like areas for your cat to use to satisfy his hunting instinct.

Cat Scratching Post

Cat Scratching Post

When was the last time you took your cat to the vet? Feeling a little uncomfortable with that question?  If you are among the very many cat owners who dread the thoughts of taking your cat to the vet, start thinking like a cat. Instead of only bringing out her carrier when you are going to the vet, leave it out and open so it becomes a part of her every day life. If your cat likes treats, toss a few in the carrier from time to time.  If your cat is stimulated by catnip, place a catnip infused toy inside his carrier.  A trip to the vet will be much easier if you and your cat are not traumatized by the actions necessary to just get in the car.

You might also want to consider using a veterinarian who specializes in the care of cats. If you don’t have a nearby cat specialist, consider using a vet that has a separate entrance and waiting area for cats. All of these steps can ease the stress on you and your cat and go a long way in meeting the needs of your cats.

Curious Cat

Curious Cat

Professionals Who are Interested in Meeting the Needs of Your Cats

Neither Billy nor I have ever lived with a cat, so admittedly we had a great deal to learn when we opened our pet sitting business.  That is the main reason I attended the cat behavior conference  last April.  As we have cared for cats, I have grown increasingly fond of them and have learned a great deal about their needs.  It was time to expand my education and I thoroughly enjoyed doing so.  In addition to continuing education I enjoyed the company of 4 other pet sitters that I regularly “talk with” on line.  We were all interested in learning as much as we can.  These pet sitters know and understand cats and in Rita Reimers’ case, specialize in providing care only for cats.

Rita is also known as The Cat Analyst  and offers cat behavior consultations so look her up if you are experiencing behavior issues with your cat.

Want to Know More about Meeting the Needs of Your Cats?

The IABBC posts a blog that many of you may find helpful.

We also recommend the related articles referenced below.  Happy cat reading!

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

What Is a Professional Pet Sitter?

Choosing a Professional Pet Sitter

We are celebrating professional pet sitters week March 1- 7.  You may ask, “So, what is pet sitting anyway?” Dictionary.com defines pet sitting as “the act of caring for a pet in its own home while the owner is away.” What makes one a professional pet sitter? If you live in Mooresville, Davidson or Cornelius, how do you choose the best professional pet sitter for you and your pets?

Your pet needs a professional pet sitter

Your pet needs a professional pet sitter

We belong to Pet Sitters International (PSI) and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). We joined these groups as a part of starting our business because we are dedicated to doing the job right and keeping your pets safe and happy while you are away. We knew we needed information from others who had done this work for a long time and that we needed to stay current with all things pets. Both PSI and NAPPS suggest a variety of questions to ask a potential pet sitter. Key among those questions are: (1) does the pet sitter carry business liability insurance; (2) does the pet sitter use a services contract that discusses the services to be provided and the associated fees; (3) is the pet sitter trained in pet first aid and CPR; (4) how does the pet sitter keep the key to your home secure; (5)  does the pet sitter have a clean criminal record history; (6) does the pet sitter participate in continuing education on line or at pet sitters’ conferences; (7) does the pet sitter meet with you and your pets in your home prior to beginning services and is there a fee for this meeting; (8) does the pet sitter have a website that you can review to get information about the people and the company; (9) how much time will the pet sitter spend in your home with your pet; (10) what will the pet sitter do if your pet becomes ill or is injured; and (11) how does the pet sitter communicate with you.

Some of the Elements that Distinguish Our Professional Services

We are happy to assure you that (1) we are insured and bonded by Business Insurers of the Carolinas; (2) we have a comprehensive services contract; (3) we are both trained in pet first aid and CPR and Billy is an instructor in the Pet Tech family of pet first aid and CPR courses; (4) we have passed a background check with Sterling International (5) the keys to our clients’ homes are coded by number only and maintained in a locking key cabinet when not in use; (6) we attended the PetSittingOlogy conference last October and will be attending the PSI conference in September; (7) we always conduct a free meet and greet with potential clients and their pets in their home prior to beginning services; (8) our website is www.coddlecreekpetservices.com; (9) our pet sitting visits are untimed…..we stay as long as necessary to attend to the physical needs of your pets, provide them with emotional comfort and reassurance, collect your mail and newspapers, rotate your lights and blinds, roll your garbage and recycle bins to and from the curb and water a few house plants; (10) if your pet becomes ill or injured while you are away we will assess the injury or symptoms, apply first aid, contact you for instructions and if not able to reach you will take your pet to the vet if our assessment of the injuries or symptoms indicate the need for veterinary intervention; and (11) we send an email or text message after every pet sitting visit.

Please visit our website to learn more about our services.

Pet Poison Prevention and Intervention

Pet Poison Prevention Tips

Our pets are not able to distinguish between safe objects and non safe objects so it’s up to us to keep them safe. March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month and March 15 – 21 is Poison Prevention Week, so there is no better time to talk about this subject than now.

There is a great deal we can do to prevent our pets from being poisoned. First and foremost, be diligent about putting all medications out of sight and out of reach of your pets.  A bored and determined dog can accomplish feats we would never dream of, so better to be safe than sorry.  Make sure household cleaners are safely stored too.

Think about how you might keep a human toddler safe and you have the right idea.  Just remember that although you would not leave a toddler unsupervised, most pets spend a great deal of time every day unsupervised. That means the garbage needs to be empty or made inaccesible to your dog.  For some strange reason the Harwell family dogs like to eat tissues not to mention food wrappers that smell yummy. So we have learned to put a heavy coaster on top of the tissue box and to keep our bathroom doors shut.  We reommend that you keep your toilet lids down or close the bathroom door if your pets like to drink from the toilet.  This is especially true if you use bleach tablets in your toilet tank.  Learn the foods and beverages, houseplants and garden plants  that are off limits for dogs and cats and keep those out of sight and out of reach of your pets. We have tragically read about dogs and cats that have been poisoned by houseplants.      poisonous plants 8648213_f520

It’s much better to be safe than sorry.  Prevention is always preferred to assessment and treatment.  Calls to the  Pet Poison Helpline cost $49.00 not to mention the damage your pet may have already suffered and the worry you may feel.  Calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control cost $65.00.

Pet Poison Helpline

Pet Poison Helpline

As professional pet sitters we review safey tips with pet parents when go on our consultation visit. We recommend that all non safe items be out of reach of your pets.  Although they may be fine when you are home on your normal schedule, your cats and dogs sense the difference when you are away several days or more.  Even though we are making frequent visits to your home, your pets may become bored, so we recommend placing all medications in a cupboard your pets cannot access.

 What To Do If You Suspect Your Pet Has Ingested A Poinsonous Substance

Possible signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, trouble breathing, over excitement, loss of consciousness or seizures. It’s important to get veterinarian help quickly, and remember information is powerful.

  • First and foremost, stay calm and keep your pet as calm as possible.
  • Try to determine what the poisonus substance may have been, gather up any suspicious wrappers and if your pet has vomited or had diarrhea gather some of the fluids in a clean container.
  • Try to determine the approximate time your pet ingested the poison.
  • Call the veterinarian or poison control center for first aid instructions.  Never induce vomiting without being instructed to do so by a veterinarian or animal poison control expert. (If the substance is acid or a strong alkali or petroleum based, you should not induce vomiting).
  • If the substance is toxic or corrosive and on the pet’s body, brush it off and then rinse with lots of cold water.
  • Transport to the nearest veterinary hospital for veterinary assessment and treatment.

A handy aid with these instructions can be found in the Pet Tech PetSaver App  for your smart phone. The app includes a handy link to nearby veterinary hospitals and emergecny veterinary hospitals in case you are traveling or the pet poisoning occurs after typical hospital hours.

Want to Know More About Care for Your Pets

We don’t know any pet parent that doesn’t want to protect his or her four legged family members.  It’s a great idea to take a pet first aid and CPR class so you can feel and be prepared in an emergency situation.  That’s why we both took the Pet Tech PetSaver class when we had an opportunity. We were so impressed with all we learned that Billy took a three day class to become an instructor.  If you want to know about Pet Tech, click here.  If you want to register for the next class click here.  Classes are scheduled for March 21, April 18, and June 6, 2015.

 

 

Related Articles

How Are You Celebrating Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day is Just Around the Corner

Do you realize that Valentine’s Day is on a weekend this year?  Yes indeed, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate with the one you love and get away from your day to day activities for a mini vacation. Folks who live in Mooresville, Cornelius or Davidson have great proximity to the mountains for a wine tasting tour or something a bit more eclectic.  We’ve got some recommendations too.

What’s that you say?  You would love to, but what about the dogs, cats, birds and hamsters?  Not to worry.  Give us a call and we can set up a free consultation to meet you and your pets and get prepared to look after them while you’re gone.  Now, what to do about the human kids…..sorry, we’ve got nothing for you!!

Great Wineries to Visit on Valentine’s Day Weekend

A few years ago Billy and I visited Shelton Vineyards and had a great time. We happened to go during the time of year that we could take a tour of the vineyards, but the best part was the wine tasting, so who cares if it’s too cold to tour the vineyards? They are offering a special Cupid’s Package for Valentine’s Day weekend that is sure to please. When we last attended a wine tasting at Shelton Vineyards, the hotel was under construction but it has been open for several years now.  Located in Dobson, NC the trip from Mooresville is only 64 miles so you can easily get there in just a little over an hour.

If hotels are not your style there are bed and breakfast options available in the area. You better hurry though because those quaint lodgings are nearly all booked already.

Stony Knoll Vineyards offers a special Valentine’s Day wine tasting. They even have a sweet little cabin wine lodge.

Want Something a Little Different for Valentine’s Day Weekend?

Maybe you want a unique experience to celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend.  Well, head on to Asheville and explore the not so common offerings.  I lived there for many years and can assure you the variety of activities is mesmerizing. Pottery making with your love, a 5k, a different kind of city tour or a “trip to Argentina?”

Valentine's Day pottery

Getting a little dirty

Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts offers an opportunity to get dirty.

LaZoom Tours offers a funny twist on city tours.  The Let Your Love Roll Ride departs from the Asheville Brewing Company.

The Wedlock 5k run is a unique way to renew your commitment to each other and to running while also benefitting Helpmate, one of my favorite Asheville charities.  Helpmate has been advocating, supporting and assisting victims of domestic violence for decades.

Tango

Tango

If romance is intriguing, how about a “trip to Argentina?”  Lex 18 Supper Club is offering a 1920’s candlelit dinner, music and tango revue.

 

Relax and Enjoy You Time Away

Relax and enjoy your time away.  We’ll take care of your pets just as you would.  You will receive email updates to assure you those four legged family members are well cared for in your absence.

 

 

 

Catification

What is Catification?

Jackson Galaxy says, “The catification process starts by understanding how your cat sees the world.”

What are your most difficult “cat problems?”  Does you cat poop just outside the litter box? Does your cat launch into attack mode when a guest enters the home?  Do you find the look and style of cat trees unattractive? Or maybe you just want to make your home more pleasant for you and your cats. Take a look at Jackson Galaxy’s book Catification.

The book is chock full of innovative suggestions.  Galaxy is the host of “My Cat From Hell” on Animal Planet.  He co authored the book with Kate Benjamin, a cat style expert.

The authors discuss the “why” behind cat behaviors and recommend positive methods to work with your cat’s nature, instead of against his nature. We particularly like the superhighway design that Dan and Jenne Johnson, a Wilmington, NC couple, developed after getting the idea from Galaxy’s show.

As professional pet sitters we visit a lot of homes with cats.  We love to visit homes where the humans have put out cat scratching boxes, cardboard boxes and toys.  Most of the ideas in this book could easily be implemented.  Have fun!

CatClimbingShleves

 

 

Summer Safety Tips for Pets

Summer Safety Tips for Pets

 

We love our three dogs, two male English Springer Spaniels and a female Brittany. Nothing is more important than keeping them happy, healthy and safe. As professional pet sitters we visit with multiple pets on a daily basis. Their welfare is of great importance to us also.  In that spirit we offer these summer safety tips for pets.

  • If your dogs eat kibble (ours eat Taste of the Wild) be sure to store the food in a safe manner.  It’s important to retain the bag in case of recalls. If you dog becomes ill you will also want to check the lot number in the unlikely event there was a problem with that batch of dog food.  If you dump the dog food into a plastic container without cleaning it between new bags the food can become contaminated and rancid. In summer temperatures that becomes even more likely. That’s why we store the entire bag of dog food inside an airtight plastic container. We close the bag to help keep it fresh and store it in the plastic container in our “dog palace.”  Our  “dog palace” is an over sized laundry/storage/dog shower/dog crate room that is heated and air conditioned. Luke, Daisy Mae and Trooper enter and exit our house here, eat in this room, get their paws wiped down and chill out when they are dirty.

 

  • Although the temps are going down, it is still too hot to leave your dog in the car. Even if the top temp is only 78 hot-car-hot-oven2degrees the temps in a closed car will rise to 90 degrees in five minutes and 110 degrees in 25 minutes. I don’t know about you, but I have never been able to get in and out of any store in five minutes. Even in the shade and with windows cracked it will get waaayyy too hot.  It only takes 15 minutes for an animal to get heat stroke and die in a hot car!  Please leave Fido at home to chill out in the AC. If you see a dog (or child) left alone in a car please check with the store manager and if the parent does not return soon, call law enforcement.

 

 

dog-and-boy

  • Teach your children that dogs and cats are living beings with feelings.  For safety also let them know to always ask permission before petting a dog or cat. Let your children know they must leave the dog alone when he is in his crate because that is his safe space.
  • Focus on teaching your child to use gentle behavior when interacting with dogs.  Make sure your children know not to tease a dog by taking his toys or treats. Only by teaching empathy can we assure the safety of our children and our pets.

When we fail to teach basic safety and empathy we risk the danger of injured children and euthanized pets.article-2714759-2039370500000578-495_306x337

 

Products for Cats These Pet Sitters Recommend

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Products for Cats

 

As professional pet sitters, we scoop a LOT of kitty litter. Recently we were introduced to a litter that we can rave over. That’s right..the words printed on the box were actually true. We took care of three cats in a household that share one litter box. We made visits two times a day but were concerned about the potential odor. Not one bit. It was like magic in terms of sealing in the odor and not making a mess outside the box. We heartily recommend these products for cats.

 

Another product we were impressed with was the Just for Cats Calming Spray by Nature’s Miracle. We sprayed this on our shoes and notebooks before entering the home of three cats who had a less than perfect introduction when the newest cat was brought in. We were tasked with keeping one cat in a separate room due to a history of cat fights. One day that cat managed to get out of her room, but lo and behold there were no fireworks.

 

Natures-Miracle-No-Stress-Calming-Spray-for-Cats-018065057808

We used the product in two other households where visitors typically do not see one of the cats. Well, wouldn’t you know it….the cats came out of hiding in each household. We count that as a win for felines, feline owners and pet sitters

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:  We received no compensation for the use of these products or for blogging about them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author:  Beth Leatherman Harwell

Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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