pet sitting Archives - Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC

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

What Happens in Vegas…Comes Home to Coddle Creek

What Happens in Vegas…Comes Home to Coddle Creek Pet Services

Episode I

Despite popular opinion some things that happen in Las Vegas are designed to be shared. The PetSittingOlogy Conference is one of those happenings. In October 2014 Billy and I were privileged to attend the 3rd Annual PetSittingOlogy Conference. We were delighted to attend the 5th Annual PetSittingOlogy Conference this past October.
 
Vegas

PSO Pet Sitters 2016

 

Arden Moore

Over the next several months we will share the highlights from the conference with you. Today we start with the incomparable Arden Moore. You may have been fortunate enough to listen to her radio show, Oh Behave! on Pet Life Radio. Several years ago I bought her book, The Cat Behavior Answer Book and  have found the tips invaluable when working with, shall we say, less than enthusiastic cats!!

While at the conference Billy and I had the privilege of spending some one on one time with Arden and got to know her on a personal level. Arden’s sense of humor is delightful.  We also had the opportunity to purchase two more of her books, Fit Dog and Fit Cat.  We heartily recommend Arden’s books.

Just this week Billy passed along recommendations for medicating a cat to one of our clients that was distressed about her cat’s needs for medication. Said cat is independent and does not like to be messed with. 

Arden’s cat Casey assists her with teaching Pet First Aid 4U. Pet Safety Cat Casey endorses the The Explorer Adventure First Aid Kit. The kit contains the items you might need in an emergency (for your pet or you). Billy and I previously created our own first aid kits for carrying in our cars but needed something compact enough to carry on hikes with our dogs. This kit is the perfect addition to our backpacks for those so beloved hikes.

Stay tuned next month for Episode Two of What Happens in Vegas…Comes Home to Coddle Creek Pet Services.

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.

Fireworks and Pets

Fireworks and Pets Mix Like Oil and Water.

fireworks and pets

Fireworks and pets

No doubt any pet owner who did not already know that fireworks scare the heck out of pets has learned that fact the last few days.

We have three dogs of our own and are also professional pet sitters.  During the last few days we have seen far too many anxious dogs and cats.  I am distressed that the thoughtless illegal actions of others have troubled so many pets and people. It’s truly distressing to be taking care of pets in a house that sits on a thumbnail sized lot with houses so close you could practically touch them if you stretched your arms out. In one instance I had taken a dog out to “do her business.” Just as she squatted a huge BOOM went off. The poor dog stopped in her tracks and did not relieve herself out of fear.

A neighbor had left his dog tied up outside. The pitiful sounds of the dog whimpering and whining broke my heart. The cats inside the house went into hiding.

Certainly we don’t want to destroy anyone’s fun. But apparently many people have differing definitions of fun. However; I cannot define “fun” as an activity that causes extreme anxiety and fear in pets and also causes severe trauma for those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For someone to define this action as “fun” demonstrates their level of immaturity.

More about those issues later in this post, but for now I want to focus on what we as pet owners can do to reduce the fear and stress our pets feel over the sound and sight of fireworks.

Fireworks and Pets:  How Can we Help Our Pets On July 4 and New Year’s Eve

Let’s face it, we most likely will not be able to get our neighbors to refrain from setting off fireworks.  There’s no point in banging our heads against the wall.  Instead, let’s get prepared for dealing with fireworks and pets.  Here are my top ten ideas.

  1. Talk with your neighbors in a friendly manner.  Find out what their plans are and when they plan to set off their fireworks. Tell them you need to know so that you can prepare your pets or plan on being away from home for awhile.
  2. Ask your neighborhood association to send out a notice suggesting that celebrations be confined to one night only each season….ideally on July 4 and New Year’s Eve. Approach this in a solution focused manner to reduce the need for anyone to fee defensive.
  3. Speak up at neighborhood meetings and discuss the realities of the issues around fireworks and pets. Let people know that some pets shake and drool uncontrollably, some pets try to escape their crates or even their homes. Dogs have been known to escape fences if outside when fireworks start. Any human who has ever experienced an anxiety attack is sure to be able to relate to how horrible that feels to the pet. Maybe I’m still just a little hopeful that folks will change their ways!
  4. If your dogs like car rides consider driving around in the country side where there are less likely to be fireworks displays.  Make sure you have the car radio on and bring along some chew toys for your dogs.
  5. Research camp grounds and find out where dogs are allowed and where traditionally fireworks have not been set off.  Once you know, take off on that camping trip. fireworks and pets
  6. For those of you that don’t like to go camping and for those of you with pets that don’t travel well (cats, birds, fish) learn how to make your home a fortress from loud noises. If you have a basement, that’s probably the best spot.  Turn on window air conditioners and fans to generate noise. Invest in a “white noise” machine.  Turn on the TV or stereo with the kind of music you already know is helpful to your pets. Use heavy curtains to help block noise and flashes of light.
  7. Give your dog something to occupy himself.  For food motivated dogs a frozen stuffed kong is ideal. We really like these ideas from Lynnette Walczak. Engage your cat in play. Pull out that laser light or play with a flirt pole to occupy his attention.
  8. Check out calming products for your cats and dogs. Not all products will be effective on all pets so you will need a little trial and error. Some of our favorites include the Thundershirt (they make them for cats too), Adaptil collars and diffusers (for dogs), Sentry Calming Collars (for dogs and cats), Feliway diffusers for cats, Music Through a Dog’s Ear/Cat’s Ear, Bach’s Flower Rescue Remedy and Nature’s Miracle Cat Calming Spray.
  9. If the environmental efforts you made and the calming products you tried did not work, consult your veterinarian for a prescription medication to calm and sedate your pet during the most stressful events
  10. Remember, this too shall pass.  Try to stay as calm as you can because we know that our pets respond to our moods also.

 

Fireworks and Military Combat Veterans

We promised to address the issue of combat veterans and fireworks too.  Here are our thoughts.

fireworks and pets

Combat Veteran Lives Here

Imagine my horror when I read a post in Next Door from someone who apparently had a large fireworks display in their yard.  The individual defended their actions as being patriotic due to her husband’s past military service. I am proud of my father, uncles and even one aunt who served in the military during WWII, another uncle who served in the US Army during the Korean conflict and my husband who served in the US Air Force for 22 years.

However; service in the military truly does not justify distressing others with illegal actions.  Far too many of our former and retired service members served in combat and continue to suffer from the ill effects many years later.  My own father was traumatized and I know many more were also.

The little things truly can make a difference.  Most veterans with PTSD are happy for you to celebrate with fireworks on July 4. To be courteous, please confine the celebrations to one night, July 4.  Please don’t make a week long celebration out of it.  Also know that many combat veterans prefer not to place a sign in their yard.  If they do place a sign be sure to honor it and warn them of your plans. That way the veteran can either leave home for the evening, take anti anxiety medication, turn up the music or do what ever he or she needs to do to ward off the crippling anxiety attack.

For those who think they are honoring military veterans with fireworks, perhaps it’s time to consider a different way to honor our veterans.  The thoughts expressed by many veterans regarding Memorial Day on the Task & Purpose web page are a good start.  One comment in particular rang true with me.

I understand the sentiment and the desire to convey appreciation. Rather than thank me, however, I would prefer people to take moment and think about the original November 11, in 1918. After a horrific campaign, the endless shelling, gassing, and gunfire ceased at 11 am, replaced with the first silence that the battlefields of World War I had heard in four years. Think of the shock and limitless thankfulness the soldiers felt as they heard birds chirping, something we hear and take for granted every day. They had survived hell, and could be reunited with their families. These men carried the scars of war with them forever, as do veterans of all conflicts. —Angry Staff Officer, U.S. Army National Guardsman

Another statement addressed the issue of service as follows.

With regards to being thanked for my service, no one should be under any obligation to do so. If they want to, that’s fine, although ask about my experiences, the people, the conditions. The real, honest stories we share truly help people understand a concept so foreign (literally and figuratively) to them. If they truly feel the need to thank and support service members, I would encourage them to find a veteran’s group or organization and help them out however they can. —Kyle Dykstra, U.S. Army veteran

Common Courtesy

Common courtesy goes a long way in addressing the concerns. For those of you who enjoy setting off fireworks in your yard, please consider the issues and needs of your neighbors (humans, dogs, cats and birds). For those of us who love and care for pets and humans suffering from PTSD, think proactively about how to approach your neighbors in a non confrontational manner. Be prepared with the actions and products that can most help your pets and you get through these difficult holidays. For me, July 4 will always be difficult because my father took his own life 16 years ago on July 4.  Little did we know that he had always hated July 4. Only after his death did we learn that he had taken out an entire company of men one July 4 during WWII.  I make sure not to knowingly engage in anything stressful on July 4 and simply take care of myself and my family the best way I can. May you do the same.

 

 

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.

National Cat Day

October 29, 2015  –  Today is National Cat Day

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We celebrate cats everyday. We’re glad one day is set aside for special attention. How do you plan to celebrate National Cat Day?  The founders and sponsers of National Cat Day have identified 20 Ways to Celebrate.

Ways You and Your Cat Can Celebrate National Cat Day Together

  • If you have one or more cats, how about making it a special day for them? One of the ideas we like the most includes baking some cat shaped cookies for your family and friends and some tuna cookies for your cats. Click the link to see a recipe for tuna cookies.
  • Another idea is to update your cat’s supplies.  Is the litter you use safe for your cat.  Does your cat need a new litter box?
  • Does your cat have places to climb and hide; scratching posts; toys?
  • Is your cat’s food healthy for him?  Read the labels and check with your veterinarian to make sure you are providing proper nutrition for your cat.
  • Speaking of the veterinarian, when was the last time your cat was seen by the vet? Cats should be seen by the vet every 6 to 12 months. Well cat visits are important to assess for dental disease, to assure that your cat is at a heathy weight, to assess the need for vaccine updates and for a general head to tail exam.
  • Important Tip: Don’t just pull out the cat carrier when you are ready to visit the vet. Leave it out with a catnip infused toy in it. Consider leaving some of those tasty home made tuna treats in the carrier.
  • Cats frequently don’t drink enough water so it’s important to provide fresh water and to consider installing a fountain.
  • Another great way to get adequate water into your cat is with canned cat food or tuna.
  • Play with your cat. Their minds and bodies need exercise on a daily basis.

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Let’s make it the best National Cat Day Ever!!

 

 

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

Do You Know 11 Steps to Responsible Pet Ownership?

February is Responsible Pet Owners’ Month

We love to look at special days, weeks and months for ideas about celebrations.  And we are delighted to learn that February is Responsible Pet Owners’ Month. Really, every day should be responsible pet owners’ day and we are sharing the 11 qualities we believe demonstrate responsible pet ownership.

Beau joined us at our fav restaurant during his final week

Beau joined us at our fav restaurant during his final week

 

11 Steps to Responsible Pet Ownership

  1. Learn all you can about the dog or cat breed you are considering adopting.
  2. Make a commitment to your pet for life.
  3. Have your pet micro-chipped and affix current ID tags to your pets’ collars.  Always make sure they are wearing their ID tags when they go outside of your home.
  4. Get your dog or cat spayed or neutered.
  5. Train your pet.
  6. Exercise your pet’s body and mind every day.
  7. Feed your pet the best quality food you can afford.
  8. Get regular veterinary care for your pet.
  9. Brush your pet’s teeth every day.
  10. Make adequate arrangements for your pets’ care when you go out of town.
  11. Learn pet first aid and CPR.

 

How These Steps Contribute to Responsible Pet Ownership

Learn all you can about the dog or cat breed you are considering adopting.

Knowledge of the needs of the pet you want will help to assure a good match between the pet and your household. You need to know the most typical health conditions of the breed, how much exercise is required and if you are able to provide that type and frequency of exercise. For instance, you need to select a veterinarian that can provide care for the pet you want. If you are considering adopting a bird, is there an avian specialist veterinarian nearby? What are the nutritional needs of the pet you want? What type of training is needed? And remember, it is really you who needs the training!!!

We strongly support pet adoption.  According to the US Humane Society, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year.  These are pets that were surrendered by owners, dumped, or found stray.  If you adopt a pet, you save his or her life and make room in the shelter for another pet. If you buy a pet from an on line ad you are contributing to puppy mills.  We adopted our Daisy Mae through National Brittany and Adoption Network (NBRAN).  She helped our hearts to heal after Beau went over the Rainbow Bridge from lymphoma.   Yes, adopting a pet can put a smile on your face.

Frightened Daisy Mae at the shelter

Frightened Daisy Mae at the shelter

 

One Happy Daisy Mae on a boat ride

One Happy Daisy Mae on a boat ride

Don’t worry, her life jacket was in the boat!!

Make a commitment to your pet for life.
Enough Said

Enough Said

Rita Reimers, noted cat analyst has written a heartfelt blog about people dumping their cats.

Have your pet micro-chipped and affix current ID tags to your pets’ collars.  Always make sure they are wearing their ID tags when they go outside of your home.

Approximately 15% of pet owners report having lost a pet within a five year period of time according to a recent ASPCA study.  ID tags and microchips were important in getting 15% of the lost dogs home.  It’s important for ID tags to have the owners’ cell phone number as well as the number of another emergency contact.  If there is enough room on the tag you can add the land line number and if comfortable with it the home address.  Be sure to update the information if you move or get a new phone number. And, please register the microchip information with the microchip company….otherwise it is useless!

Get your dog or cat spayed or neutered.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Every year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are euthanized. The good news is that responsible pet owners can make a difference. By having your dog or cat sterilized, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens. Spaying and neutering prevent unwanted litters and may reduce many of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct.

Train your pets.

A study done by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) and published on PetFinder’s website indicated that 96% of the dogs relinquished to shelters had received no training.  There are some basics that are essential to a happy relationship between you and your dog.  These include potty and crate training, and the cues for sit, stay, down, off, drop it, leave it and come.  For fun you can always add in tricks such as roll over and high five! We heartily recommend positive reinforcement training. If you need a trainer locally we are pleased to recommend Donna Rogers with K-9 Capers Dog Training Academy in Concord and Sara Higgins with Positive Pups Dog Training, LLC in Cornelius.

What about training for your cat or bird?  Yes, you read right.  Pets Web MD offers great tips for training your kitten or cat to use the litter box. The Partnership for Animal Welfare offers tips on teaching your cat to use a scratching post. Many years ago while still working as a social worker one of my clients told me he had trained his cat to walk on a leash. I was pretty astounded at the time, but have since learned it is a valuable skill.  Mother Nature Network offers some tips on helping you and kitty acquire this skill.

Pet MD offers tips for training your pet bird.  Multiple issues are also common to other species: biting, screaming (barking), grooming, using treats, chewing on furniture and traveling.  We got a laugh about talking birds and their sometimes unsavory vocabularies!

Exercise your pet’s body and mind every day.

All pets need physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis.  You can play games indoors with your kitties to engage them and keep them on the move. Of course, we know that dogs need time for sniffing walks when they can check and deposit “pee mail.”  A good generalization is that most dogs need at least 2 walks of 15 minutes duration every day.  The specifics will depend on your dog’s breed, general health and temperament and age.  If you don’t have time to walk with your dog on a regular basis, consider hiring a professional dog walker several days per week or even daily if your budget allows.  Having a variety of places to walk with a variety of sights and smells will enrich your dog’s life.  On those days that the weather makes long walks out of doors unsafe, play some mental games inside. Nose work inside is particularly effective.

Feed your pet the best quality food you can afford.

Remember not to overfeed your pets either. Pet obesity has become a huge problem in the US. It’s best to feed your pets at certain times of the day so you can easily assess how much they are eating.  An added benefit is if they eat on a regular schedule they will be more likely to eliminate on a regular schedule. Leaving dry kibble down for cats is discouraged too because they benefit from eating canned food.  Cats tend not to drink enough water so they need the hydration from canned or “wet” foods.  Lisa A. Pierson, DVM offers an excellent explanation of these facts.

Get regular veterinary care for your pet.

In general pets need to be assessed by their veterinarian on at least a yearly basis.  Puppies and kittens as well as senior pets need to be evaluated more frequently.  And of course, pets with chronic medical conditions need more frequent monitoring.

Regular checkups include examining the ears, eyes, nose, abdominal organs, skin and fur and heart and lungs.  This is also the time for vaccination protocols, heartworm preventative medications and lab work. It is much easier on the pet to prevent a problem than to treat a problem.  And we might add, less expensive. We fostered to adopt Trooper through English Springer Spaniel Rescue America (ESRA) and he came to us Heartworm positive.  It was heartbreaking having to keep him quiet during the months of treatment.

Trooper

Trooper

 Brush your pet’s teeth every day.

Yes, you can and should do this.  It’s easier if you start when a puppy, but they can learn to accept it at any age.  just be sure to use toothpaste made for dogs and cats, not the human kind.  Human toothpaste has soap in it to make it sudsy and that’s not good for our pets because they can’t spit it out. Experiment until you find the flavor they like (vanilla, mint, chicken, beef).  There are a variety of types of toothbrushes too, so keep at it until you find the right one.  I brush our dogs’ teeth multiple times per week and we are going to be able to skip dental cleanings this year.  That is not only a financial savings but we’re so relieved not to have anyone put under anesthesia.

Just as with humans, there is a link between good oral health and good general health.  Dogs with proper dental care live on average two years longer than those without proper dental care. Luke is almost 9 years old and is an old hand at getting his teeth brushed.  Daisy Mae and Trooper are mildly resistant (we adopted them) but they are getting better at accepting it.

Luke

Luke

Make adequate arrangements for your pets’ care when you go out of town.

In today’s world we have numerous options for pet care when we are unavailable.  Options include friends or family members, in home pet boarding, pet kenneling and professional pet sitting in your home. We recommend against the use of the kid next door at any time.  While family and friends may work out some of the time, it can become an awkward situation if you ask them too often.  It’s important to avoid the “hobby sitters” who do this to pick up “pin money.”  They are extremely unlikely to be bonded, to carry professional business liability insurance, to have a criminal background check, to be trained in pet first aid and CPR and to be available long term when the novelty of “playing” with dogs and cats has worn off.

If the cost is an issue and you only have one pet you may be well served with a good boarding or kenneling facility.  If you have two pets your costs between a professional pet sitter and a facility will be similar.  If you have three or more pets or pets of multiple species you will most likely find a professional pet sitter who provides care in your home to be most cost effective.  While many pets do well in a boarding facility, most thrive in their own familiar homes.  A professional pet sitter will be able to give your home that lived in look with rotation of lights and draperies, mail and newspaper collection, roll out of garbage and recycle containers and watering a few houseplants.

Two professional pet sitters organizations offer user friendly pet sitter locator services: Pet Sitters International (PSI) and National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS).

Learn pet first aid and CPR.

No one wants to encounter an emergency, but we all know urgent issues happen every day.  It’s a good idea to take a class in pet first aid and CPR. There are numerous options available.  Billy has been trained by two organizations.  After we were both trained in the PetSaver program by Pet Tech last October we were both so impressed with the program that he took the training to become a trainer. He offers the courses approximately 8 times per year.

Learn about PetTech at this link.  See Billy’s instructor profile at this link.



 

Thanks for taking the necessary steps toward responsible pet ownership!!!

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.

 

 

 

How Are You Celebrating National Dress Up Your Pet Day?

National Dress Up Your Pet Day 2015

Yep, it’s here today, January 14, 2015 is national dress up your pet day.  Are you going to dress up your pet today? We see so many cute outfits on lots of pets.  We always think we should dress up our dogs and then seldom seem to get around to it. But here is one picture from Luke and mom getting ready for the Mooresville Christmas parade.

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We have the pleasure of providing pet sitting services for lots of pets, but rarely see them costumed either.  But here is one of three Pugs we know all ready for Santa to visit.  Max, Sophie and Gizmo are cute any way you slice it.

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Moose models her raincoat nicely too.

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Who Thinks Dress Up Your Pet Day is a Great Idea?

Pet MD  for one.  Go check out their blog post on the idea.  Way cool.

The Animal Rescue Site offers some recommendations on keeping it safe.

Vet Street offers some cute, albeit hilarious photos.

Many of our Facebook friends dress up their pets on a regular basis.  We are sharing a sampling of them.

Princess Ava Bisou and her sister Mia Bryant Beddard are fashion divas.

Lil Olive and her sisters were rescued from puppy mills. They rock clothes every day to keep warm because they are Italian greyhounds and don’t have much fat.

Muppie’s Rescued usually goes au naturelle but sometimes wears her fine jewels from The Dollar Store.  She is so funny.

 

We can hardly wait to see your pictures for Dress Up Your Pet Day!

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Here is to you and yours in 2015. We hope you have a happy new year and that the start you get in January lasts all year long. We want to see at least one good snow for an opportunity to walk with our dogs through a winter wonderland. We trust all your hopes, dreams and wishes will come true.

January is National Train Your Dog Month (http://www.trainyourdogmonth.com). To celebrate, Daisy Mae and Beth are looking forward to participating in a training course. We bet Beth is the one who will be trained!

Good Dog!

Good Dog!

January is also  National Walk Your Pet Month. Do you walk your dog or cat on a regular basis?  Yes, cats can be taught to walk on a leash, believe it or not. The ASPCA (https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/cat-behavior/teaching-your-cat-walk-leash) has great tips for getting your cat accustomed to a harness and leash. You would be amazed at how well you can train a cat if done in a positive fashion.

 

 

Bird Adoption

Bird Adoption

 

Have you considered acquiring a pet bird? January is Adopt a Rescued Bird Month so there is no better time. A great place to start is Companion Parrots Re-homed (http://www.companionparrots.org/) in Pineville. Another wonderful place to learn about bird care is Parrot University (http://www.parrotu.com/) in Pineville. They even offer boarding for your parrot when you must go away. Please be sure to educate yourself on the intricacies of bird care and the issues facing captive birds (http://www.avianwelfare.org/links/organizations.htm).

 

Here’s what else January offers. January 2 –  National Pet Travel Safety Day; January 5 – National Bird Day; January 14 – National Dress Up Your Pet Day; January 16 – National Penguin Awareness Day; January 21 – Squirrel Appreciation Day (our dogs are ready for this one Sealed); January 22 – National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day; January 24 – Change a Pet’s Life Day and January 29 – Seeing Eye Guide Dog Birthday.

 

Happy New Year to you and your pet family.

Presents 4 Pets 2014 Was a Huge Success!!

Presents 4 Pets 2014 Results

Wowee!! Yippee Skippy! Presents 4 Pets 2014 has been a huge success thanks to you the members of our LKN community.

Items such as toys, treats, blankets, towels, rugs, pet beds, leashes, collars, harnesses, crates, kitty litter, pet shampoo and pet food were collected. We will be making deliveries to the beneficiaries in the next few days:

The goal for the community collection was a minimum of 300 items. Over 470 items were collected with an approximate value of $1270 during the Presents 4 Pets 2014 campaign!!


We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all those who donated to this worthy cause and helped to make the “Presents 4 Pets” campaign a success.
We are 
especially grateful to the businesses that sponsored donation boxes in Davidson, Cornelius and Mooresville:

The Veterinary Hospital of Davidson was a donation site for Presents 4 Pets 2014

The Veterinary Hospital of Davidson was a donation site for Presents 4 Pets 2014

 

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Many thanks to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) for providing the guidance for this project.

NAPPS is the only national nonprofit trade association dedicated to serving the needs of professional pet sitters. The Association aims to help the pet owning public, those interested in pet sitting, and professionals engaged in the in-home pet care industry by fulfilling its vision statement, serving as “the most respected authority in professional pet sitting.” It does so by providing the tools and support to foster the success of its members. NAPPS recently launched a membership designed with the pet parent in mind—the NAPPS Pet Parent Membership is the ultimate resource for pet lovers; offering guides, education opportunities, networking and exclusive discounts and deals to help pet parents care for their animal companions.

To find a pet sitter in your area, check out NAPPS’ nationwide “Pet Sitter Locator” at www.petsitters.org. For more information on NAPPS, please follow @TheNAPPS on Twitter or join us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNAPPS.

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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Pack Walk to Celebrate 1st Day of Spring

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Just a walk in the park.

Vacation Ideas When You Have the Cold Weather Blues

Vacation Ideas When You Have the Cold Weather Blues

 

These single digit temps are for the birds….as in the ones who have flown south or west. We are not accustomed to these frigid temps.   Are you thinking of flying the coop? Ah, vacation here we come.  These are some of our favorite things to do and some of our favorite places to go. We have more vacation ideas when you have the cold weather blues.

We love Key West

We love Key West

 

 

The Southernmost Point in the Continental US makes for a great photo-op.

 

A cruise makes for some romantic dinners.

Romantic dining

Romantic dining

Water is not your thing? How about the hot desert sands of Arizona?  Just be careful around those ‘ole cacti!

No Touchie Cactus

No Touchie Cactus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No matter where you jet off to, be sure to make arrangements for the care of your fur babies. Even if it is frigid here we will take great care of them while you are gone. They will have great tales to share with you.

Beth & Luke playing in the snow

Beth & Luke playing in the snow

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How to “Pill” a Cat

How to “Pill” a Cat

Does your cat need daily medication?  Does little Susie take her pills willingly? cat-sniffing-tablet

 

 

Yeah, that’s what we thought too.  Recently we had a new client who needed medication for an overactive thyroid two times a day.  We surely needed to know how to pill a cat.

Like lambs led to the slaughter, we both bravely tried to administer said meds.  Billy was bitten first.  So up next, your intrepid pet sitter # 2.  The first time I wore thick outdoor gloves and bravely followed the instructions of the kitty parent to pry open her mouth and put pill inside and then massage the side of her neck.  Success!  But all good things must come to an end.  The next morning said kitty hissed at Billy so he left her alone until the evening visit.   I tried to bond with said kitty while she hid out under the end table. So far….so good.  She even allowed me to pet her.  Then her Beagle siblings came out of their crates to greet her.  Still all was well.  Then I made the fateful mistake of trying to brush away a tiny speck of dust…….and she pounced!  Ouch went that sharp canine tooth into the flesh of my hand. Those puncture wounds hurt.  And in my case, caused an infection.  Within two hours you could see the swelling and red streaks.  So, off to the doc for a tetanus shot and an antibiotic shot followed by 7 days of oral antibiotics.

Time to do some research on how to give meds to a cat.  First up a conversation with a long time pet sitter.  She asked how I would feel if a stranger picked me up and tried to shove a pill down my throat.  Now, I GET it!!  Enter her two favorite methods altered slightly by me. Here is our new take on giving pills to cats who own our clients.

Preferred Method #1:  Put the pill in a teaspoon of canned cat food and place in kitty’s bowl.  We will heartily recommend this method to all our clients even if their kitty usually eats dry kibble.  Besides, we learned that kitties need some canned food every day because they don’t naturally drink enough water to keep their little bowels in prime shape.

Preferred Method # 2:  If the medication can safely be crushed and dissolved, we will dissolve it in a small amount of hot water.  Next we will pour some tasty tuna water in the solution and moisten a few pieces of kibble.

Short of those methods we will have to decline clients whose cats need pills.  We don’t want to traumatize any precious fur babies and we don’t ever again want to be bitten by a cat!!

by coddlecreekpetservices on January 5, 2014 at