This may be a bit controversial, but we feel it needs to be said. With folks still working from home, the temptation to hold meetings, chat with friends and family or catch up on your social media while walking the dog is very high. But we’re begging you; please put your phone away while you’re walking your dog! We don’t allow our staff to use their phones while walking dogs for multiple reasons --all of them having to do with safety. Our jobs as pet sitters (and your job as guardians) is to keep your pets safe while in your hands. Your cell phone is a total attention sucker. There’s a reason why driving while holding a cell phone is now illegal in all 50 states. When you’re engaged with your cell phone, your attention is split and you aren’t fully engaged in either activity (chatting on the phone, driving, walking, etc.) And you may say, “I can multi-task”, sorry to say that multiple research studies debunk the myth of multitasking. You’re either doing one thing at a time well, or doing multiple things at the same time poorly.
The number one reason why we don’t allow our staff to talk on the phone is so they are alert to potential dangers while walking. Those same dangers we encounter, could happen to you too. Dangers such as cars backing out of a driveway, or pulling into a driveway, loose dogs, crazy cyclists, kids on skateboards on the sidewalk. If you’re engaged in conversation, you aren’t fully aware of these things and prepared to keep your dog safe.
Also, when your attention is focused on your phone, you’re not paying attention to what your dog is doing. Are they eating something they shouldn’t? Did they step in something? are they drinking fetid water from the gutter? We’ve seen people walking their dog so unaware of what their dog is doing that they didn’t stop to let the dog potty. Isn’t that the whole point of the walk?
The walk is time your dog has to bond with you and explore its environment. You’re together in this activity. Frankly, the walk is for the dog; not necessarily for the human. We’ve seen people so keen on speed walking, they don’t allow the dog to sniff or leave their mark on the neighborhood. Remember, you have the freedom to leave the house whenever you please. The walk is probably the only time your dog gets to leave the house and explore anything outside of its home.
The walk is mental stimulation for your dog, its exercise, it’s bonding time. Enjoy the outdoors with your dog. Take in the sights, the smells, the sounds. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of busy life. Learn from your dog. They are amazing teachers.
April is pet first aid awareness month. Did you know you should have a pet first aid kit that has the essentials for all the pets in your home? While you don’t really need one kit per pet, there are items that a dog can use, but a cat cannot (like a muzzle) and if you have a horse, they should have their own first aid kit in your trailer or tackroom --not at your house. If you do have a first aid kit for your pet(s), when was the last time you checked it to make sure all of the medications weren’t expired and it had everything you needed? This should be done about once a year. Make it in January to keep it easy to remember, new year, new first aid kit essentials.
You might be saying, “Great! That’s all well and good to have a first aid kit, but I don’t have the time to search up and down CVS and find the items needed to make a kit, and then ensure they’re safe for my dog and/or cat.” Luckily, there are a plethora of premade kits available with just a simple Google search. Chewy.com and Amazon have some great options. One of our favorite brands is Adventure Medical Kits. Available on Chewy.com for dogs (and people) of all different adventure levels, from your average dog to working dog, they have you covered. Chewy also has a great Equine Triage Kit available. For cats, the best one we found was on Amazon from ARCA
With so many great premade kits available online, we really don’t recommend building your own. It’s very time consuming and will cost much more than purchasing one. But if you really want to build your own, here is a short list of items we recommend: (1) adhesive bandage tape, (2) over the counter antibiotic ointment (dogs only), (3) antibiotic eye ointment, (4) antiseptic spray/lotion/powder, (5) betadine, (6) cotton bandage rolls, (7) cotton balls/swabs, (8) ear cleaning solution, (9) elastic bandage rolls, (10) hydrogen peroxide, (11) instant ice packs, (12) alcohol prep pads, (13) latex gloves, (14) muzzle or strips of cotton to create a muzzle, (15) tweezers, (16) non stick bandage pads, (17) petroleum jelly, (18) leash, (19) syringe without the needle, (20) rectal thermometer, (21) saline solution, (22) scissors, (23) gauze rolls, (24) styptic powder, (25) towels or blankets.
Also, it’s very important to know how to use all of these items. There’s nothing worse than to have the correct items and in an emergency, not know how to use them! Denise Fleck, of Sunny Dog Ink, is an amazing teacher of pet first aid and she has a great YouTube channel, where she teaches the basics of Pet First Aid and CPR.
One of the benefits of having us as your professional pet sitter and/or dog walker is everyone here is trained in Pet CPR and First Aid, and we renew this training every two years. In fact, we have a few team members up for renewal this year. Interested in joining us in learning Pet CPR and First Aid? We’re more than happy to send you a link to the class we’re attending online (or at least one very similar). Hopefully come next renewal time, we can take an in-person course again.
Easter is on Sunday (4/4/2021), so hard to believe! But with Easter comes it’s own share of pet safety concerns. From chocolate bunnies, to Easter basket grass, to family members not keeping doors closed, to Easter lilies, there are a few things to keep in mind this weekend.
Chocolate bunnies, plastic Easter eggs, candy, etc: Chocolate should not be ingested by any pet as it is toxic and requires an immediate vet visit. Do not offer your pet any Easter candy, no human candy is safe for pets as they contain fake colors, sugars and other chemicals that are dangerous to pets if ingested.
Easter Dinner: While a few bites of lean ham/meat (no fat) or plain green beans/veggies are ok, everything else should not be given to your pet. Onions, garlic, grapes are all toxic to pets, fatty foods can lead to gastrointestinal issues and pancreatitis. Avoid salty foods as well.
Easter Basket Grass: Jenn has personal experience with this one. Her childhood cat decided to eat the plastic Easter grass in her basket. This landed him at the emergency vet overnight while they worked to get him to pass it. Paper grass is a safer option, but even so, if your pet eats too much, it could cause a blockage and a visit to the emergency vet. So be mindful of your child’s Easter basket, and make sure it’s kept out of the reach of pets.
Family/friends gathering: If you’re having family and friends over for Easter this year, be sure to remind your guests to keep doors and gates closed so your pet does not escape. If your pet is feeling nervous about seeing a bunch of people after a year of really only seeing you and your immediate family (and possibly your dog walker), put your pet in a quiet room or in their crate for the duration of the gathering. Give them a safe bone or chew toy to keep them busy. Also play relaxing music or put on doggy/kitty TV for them.
Easter lilies: NO! These are not to be brought into your home if you have pets, no exceptions! All parts of the plant are toxic and absolutely deadly to cats. If you like the look of lilies, get a fake plant. The life of your pet is not worth a pretty flower.
Alcohol: NO! While it may seem cute to see your pup drink some beer or wine from your glass, it is not ok. Alcohol is very toxic to pets and just a little bit can lead to kidney failure.
While all these things need to be considered during Easter, we want you to enjoy the holiday with your family/friends and your pets as well. Happy Easter to those who celebrate and make it a safe one for you, your family and your pets.
Jennifer, CPPS has loved caring for animals since childhood, and she’s had quite a few throughout the years. From cats to dogs, to birds, hamsters, fish, guinea pigs, and even a horse; she’s had more four-legged family members than two legged ones!