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Dog Treats for Valentine’s Day

 

 

When we think of Valentine’s day, we think of a day of love that is filled with chocolate and flowers. And there is no reason not to include your canine companion with these dog treats for Valentine’s Day. After all, they have a piece of your heart too.

Remember to always keep your dogs away from candy, but making them there own special dog-friendly treats is a great way to include them.  Check out these easy to make recipes for your dog this year!

 

Heart Shapped Pup-cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter (xylitol free)
  • 1 cup of shredded carrots or chopped broccoli
  • 2 1/2  tablespoons of honey
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • Cream cheese as frosting
  • Strawberry (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit  and grease your cupcake pan with butter or vegetable oil
  2. Mix the flour and baking powder in a small bowl
  3. Add the oil, peanut butter, and honey to the flour mixture
  4. Add the buttermilk in a small amount at a time and mix
  5. Add in the carrots or broccoli
  6. Place the mixture into the cupcake pan and bake until a toothpick can be cleanly removed from the cupcake
  7. Let the cupcakes cool for 20 minutes and remove them from the pan
  8. After the cupcakes are cooled mix up your frosting

For frosting:

  1. Apply softened cream cheese to ice the cupcake
  2. Optional: cut up strawberries and mix them into the cream cheese
  3. Spread the strawberry cream cheese on the cupcakes

No- Bake Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt (make sure there are no dog toxic ingredients like artificial sweeteners)
  • 1 cup of peanut butter (dog safe)
  • 3 cups of rolled oats

Directions:

  1. Mix the yogurt and peanut butter to make a paste
  2. Add oats 1/4 a cup at a time and fully mix all the oats with the wet ingredients
  3. Scoop out tablespoon sized portions of the mixture and roll it into balls
  4. Place the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and cool in the fridge for one hour

These treats can be stored for 7-9 days if kept in the refrigerator.


It’s true that many Valentine’s Day presents are chocolaty hazards to your dog. But, these delicious homemade treats are the perfect way to share the sweetness with your dog.

 

 

 

Fun Things to Do with Your Dog in the Snow

 

It may seem like winter weather has to limit you and your dog’s activities, but there are lots of fun activities for you and Fido when it’s snowing. Many dogs love playing in the snow so here are some activities to try.

Snowball Fights

Snowballs are a dog’s dream! They are edible balls that can be chased and caught. After a fresh snow, go outside with you dog and start throwing snowballs. Many dogs will try and catch them in their mouth, while others will simply chase the snowball. You can also try throwing a tennis ball or another brightly colored ball around the snow. Be sure to keep an eye on your ball or it will get lost in the snow.

Search and Rescue 

We have all heard about the amazing dogs that find and rescue people after avalanches, your dog can do (almost) the same thing. Start by burying your dog’s favorite toy or treats in the snow. The first few times let your dog watch you bury the object so that he gets the idea. Do not bury the toy too deep, just so it is barely covered by the snow. Then let your dog loose to find the the toy or treats. When your dog catches on to the game, bury the objects a little deeper in the snow.

Snowshoeing

When there is a lot of snow on the ground, snowshoeing with your dog is a fun activity for both of you. Leash your dog up and hit the trails. I would recommend using  a long leash (if in an open area) so that your dog is free to bound ahead or explore a bit more. Keep your eyes peeled for any wildlife or other hazards to your dog.

Sledding

There are many forms of sledding you can do with your dog. There is of course what we think of as dog sledding, seven dogs tied to a sled running through Alaska, and the more relaxed version you can do at home. For the less serious version of dog sledding find a small, lightweight sled and a harness for your dog. Attach a leash to the harness and the leash to the sled. Most dogs will not move on their own so I would bait your dog with food or get him to follow you. You can leave the sled empty or put a light child or object in the sled.

While winter is a great time to curl up next to the fireplace with your dog, it is also a fun time to get outside. Be sure to take proper precautions while playing outside. Do not stay outside for extended periods of time when it is very cold and keep your dog hydrated. 

 

 

 

Pet Care Options For When You’re Out of Town

 

Pet care options are one of the hardest decisions you will make when leaving town. You want to choose a service that is right for you and your pets. You want to return home to fur kids that are happy and relaxed. You want the peace of mind knowing that your pets are well cared for and happy while you are gone, so you can enjoy your trip! So how do you pick the right pet care options for you?

  • Pet Sitting

Hiring a pet sitter can be a great option for your pet, especially if they older or anxious. The get all the comforts of home, get to stick to their normal routine and do not have any exposure to diseases.  A pet sitter can also double as a house sitter and bring in mail, water a few plants and turns lights on and off.  You get the benefit of regular updates from your sitter and knowing that everyone is cared for in your absence. A good pet sitter will spend as much (or more) time and attention focused on your pet as you do!

The main downside of a professional pet sitter is that it can be a more costly option if you only have one pet and are requiring multiple visits per day.  If you have more than one pet, then the cost for pet care is usually similar to boarding.

  • Overnight sitters

Does your dog have a nighttime routine that cannot be disrupted? Does your cat sleep with you at night?

If you have a puppy, a dog or a cat that desires extended company, or a pet that has medical concerns, then you may want to hire an overnight sitter.  Your fur kid will enjoy the benefits of keeping their same routine, including night time cuddles.  You home will also look more lived in, and for many pets, this type of pet care is similar to your regular routine if you work during the day. Often your sitter will also recommend, or require, an additional visit for dogs during the day for a potty break.

  • Boarding kennels

Some pets actually enjoy a boarding kennel versus staying at home while their owner is away. Young, energetic dogs who socialize well with other dogs can be great candidates for a boarding facility where they are allowed to play during the day. They are taken care of all day, can have walks and playtime, and some facilities even send you updates or have cameras for you to watch. Plus you can usually bring their own food and a few toys for them for comfort. Each kennel has different schedules and policies, so be sure to find one that provides the services you (and your pet) desires.

Cats can also be boarded on occasion. It is not generally recommended, due to the levels of stress a new environment cause for your cat, but some cats are well suited to the change. There are cat kennels that provide playtime and access to common areas.

Spa Boarding – Pet spas are popping up all over the place. You can choose packages that include grooming, play groups, and gift baskets for your dog.  It’s almost like they are on vacation too!

Vet Boarding – A lot of vets also have boarding services with vet techs there for them around the clock.  This option is perfect if your pet has health issues that require 24 hour observation or care that a pet sitter would not be able to provide. Think of a cat that is not easy to medicate.

Pet care should be the part of your trip that is the least concerning! Choosing the pet care option that is right for you is the first step, then you decide on the company (pet sitting or boarding kennel) that best fits your needs. If you make these choices correctly then both you and your pet will have a wonderful vacation!

How Do I know If It Is Too Cold to Walk My Dog?

 

Winter does not have to put a damper on you and your dog’s activities, but how do you know when it is too cold outside? There are a variety of factors that influence when it is too cold to walk your dogs, but here are some general guidelines.

Fur length

What type and length of fur your dog has can impact how tolerant to cold he is. Short haired or shaved dogs have less fur to protect them from the cold and wind, so they do not tolerate winter walks as well. For shorter haired dogs, do not walk them outside when the temperature is below freezing (32 degrees fahrenheit) without a coat or sweater.  Long and thick haired dogs are more tolerant to the cold. These dogs can handle walks outside in the cold, but these walks should be kept short.

Size and body condition

Small dogs tend to have a harder time adjusting to the cold. This is because they are closer to the ground and generally have short hair. These dogs should not be walked outside in temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, even with a sweater or coat. Larger dogs are higher off the ground and tend to have more healthy body fat compared to smaller dogs. This helps larger dogs be more tolerant to the cold. Body condition is also an important factor in determining how cold is too cold. Fat helps insulate the body and keep your dog warm. Many dogs, particularly hunting dogs, have fat under their skin. This is why labs can jump into freezing lakes. For this reason, dogs who are underweight should not be outside for extended periods of time in the cold.

Health conditions 

Many health conditions impact how your dog will react to the cold. Dogs with arthritis or dogs with hip dysplasia should only be walked for short periods of time when the temperature is below 40 degrees fahrenheit. The cold tends to exacerbate these conditions and will make your dog extra sore and grumpy. Other health conditions, like thyroid issues, affect your dog’s ability to regulate his body temperature. Dogs with these conditions should not be walked for long periods of time in the cold. Talk to your vet to see if any health conditions your dog has can be impacted by the cold.

 

There are a variety of factors to consider when deciding how cold is too cold to walk your dog. In general, use caution when the temperature is below freezing. Keep walks short and brisk to help prevent your dog from getting too cold. Always be aware of other winter weather dangers, such as ice and sidewalk salt. For more information on sidewalk salt, see our previous blog post.

The Problems with Dog Kennels

 

Dog kennels can be a great place to make sure your dog stays safe while you are away on vacation or a business trip. However, there can be some serious dangers when it comes to kennels. There can be exposure to sickness, behavioral problems, and even trauma for dogs who spend too much time in a kennel.

 

Sickness found in Kennels 

Dogs in kennels are at risk for contracting a whole host of diseases and parasites. Respiratory conditions like Kennel Cough, and Canine Distemper, as well as parasites, fleas, ticks and mange, can easily be passed from dog to dog.

 

Behavioral Problems

There is a whole of of stress put on a dog while being kept in a kennel. The strange cage, loud noises, weird smalls can be a lot to take in. Dogs that have been in a shelter for long periods of time exhibit more problems. They can show signs of destructiveness, fearfulness, and tendency to flee. Of course the shorter the dog is in a kennel the less detrimental the effects, but most dogs experience stress on some level when in a kennel.

Kennel Syndrome

When dogs are left in a kennel or a shelter too long,  can actually experience periods of insanity. There was a study done at University of Bristol’s Anthrozoology Institute. It included videotapes of 30 police-trained German shepherds in their kennels after work. They found that the dogs showed definite signs of stress and even temporary mental illness. Keep in mind this is for dogs with jobs and a lot of interaction throughout the day. Imagine how bad it is for dogs that hardly ever get to leave their cages.

It’s likely that short trip to the kennel will not traumatize your dog. However, it’s important to check out a kennel before hand. Also, make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Lastly, if you’re adopting a dog in from a shelter, be kind and patient as they learn the ropes of life outside of the cage.

How to Pick a Cat

 

Getting a cat can be an exciting and intimidating experience, but with some guidance and tips the process can be easy and rewarding. There are a few key factors that will help you choose a new pet, such as age, and personality.

  • Age can be a huge factor.

There are benefits to adopting a kitten or an adult cat.

Kittens are a great addition to a family with children or dogs. Younger kitties are more accepting of new circumstances and easier to adapt. However, many kittens at the time of adoption (usually 8-10 weeks old) have not fully grown into their personality. Any feline you adopt from a shelter at this age should already be fixed and have gotten their first few vaccinations. Yet, they will still need their rabies vaccination and other vaccinations. These can added to the upfront medical cost of the kitten.

One benefit to older cats is that their personality is fully developed. Additionally, adult felines are usually already fixed. Plus up to date on all of their vaccinations for the year. Senior cats are a good addition to many families; most seniors are calm and just want to spend their golden years giving you their affection.

  • Choosing the personality is very important.

Just like humans, cats can have many personalities.

What temperament you choose depends on what type of companion you are looking for. Do you want a cat that will play with you? A cat who loves to sit in your lap? Or a cat who is independent? Shelter staff should be able to tell you more about a cat’s personality.

If you are looking for a playful cat, look for cats who come to the front of their cage to greet you and are interested in toys. For a lap companion look for those who seem to enjoy being rubbed. For a calmer, independent cat look for a cat who seems relaxed.

Some felines do not show their true personality in a shelter setting (being in a shelter is pretty stressful), so it is helpful to spend the most amount of time with them as possible. If they were in foster care, you may be able to talk to the foster family about their behavior in home setting. How a cat acts in a shelter is a good preview of how the cat will act at home.

Adopting a new feline family member is a huge decision, but with these tips and the help of shelter staff, you should be able to pick out the perfect best friend.

What are the Best Pet Sitting Options for My Older Cat?

 

Leaving our pets at home can add stress to any trip, but when your older cat is the one being left at home, it can make it all the more stressful. Luckily, there are a few good pet sitting options for your older cat.

Let’s take a look at a few of these options:

  • Hire a pet sitter

This is by far the best option, but sometimes people tend to think it is too expensive. But making sure your cat has the best care while being in the comfort of home is worth it. Older cats don’t like to be taken away from their comfort zone, so bringing the caretaker to them is a great option.

  • Board them at the vet

Boarding is also good for a cat that doesn’t mind being away from home. It can be hard for cats to adapt to the sterilized, yet loving environment; but it doesn’t mean it’s not a good option. Older cats sometimes have medical conditions that can be best left attended to a veterinarian while you are away.

  • Have a dependable friend/family watch them

This is often popular decision because it’s pretty inexpensive. This can work when you have a really close friend care for them as one of their own. The problem with this option is that sometimes is when an emergency happens. If they have a flat tire, accident or aother situation, your pet may take a back seat to their situation. Pet sitters and boarding facilities have systems in place to ensure that your pet has care, no matter what emergencies arise.

As you can see, there are a lot of different pet sitting options all with their own respective pro’s and con’s. It will always come down to your specific situation, but we are always here to help!

If you’re looking for a pet sitter don’t hesitate to give us a call and set up an appointment! 

 

 

What Does a Pet Sitter Do?

 

You have finally decided that getting a pet sitter is right for you and your pet. But at the same time you are wondering, “what exactly does a pet sitter do?” While we do have one of the most rewarding jobs someone can have, we do much more than love and play with animals all day. There is a lot that goes into professional pet sitting than meets the eye.

Yes, we give TLC including cuddles, walking & playing with pets.

Our primary concern is taking care of your pet’s immediate needs; walking, feeding and giving them love and attention is our first concern. But we also are trained for emergency situations, CPR, plus other important knowledge in case your pet was to fall ill while you are away.

We also do a combination of other helpful tasks for your pet and home.

  • Our sitters are trained to be able to administer any medicine needed
  • We can provide hospice care for older pets
  • Overnight visits
  • When you’re away a pet sitter can give your home a “lived in” feel by leaving lights on or opening/closing blinds
  • Cleaning litter boxes
  • Changing water/food bowls

It’s good to know your home and your pets are being looked after, especially when you’re going away on vacation. You never know what kind of situation can arise while you’re not at home; pipes can burst, HVAC units or power can go out and pets can get stuck in any manner of places. That’s why having a pet sitter is even more beneficial than just a walk, a few belly rubs and fresh food.

Pets who have pet sitters or other pet care services (such as walking) are happier, get more exercise, have less stress and more socialization, plus they have healthier urinary tracts and diets.

Contact us today to find out more! 

 

What Are the Best Fort Collins Dog Trails?

Fort Collins dog owners are very lucky to have many friendly dog trails to choose from. There are a variety of trails in city natural areas and parks, county parks, and state parks. Here are some of my favorite hikes with dogs.

Lory State Park- Well Gulch Nature Trail 

This trail is a beautiful 1.5 mile hike through a variety of terrains. The trails has some slow climbs and downhills. There are also many waterfalls along the way. I would recommend this trail because it is not steep or very technical, it is fairly short, and has great views.

Fort Collins Natural Areas- Maxwell Natural Area

The trail in Maxwell Natural Area leads to the A. Taking the foothills trail to the overlook trail will take you and your dog up to the A, with a great view of Fort Collins and Horsetooth Reservoir. This hike is about 4 miles round trip, but is lots of fun. It starts with a walk through rolling hills, then you begin climbing up the mountain. The climb is not too steep or technical. I recommend this trail because it has great views, has wide trails, and has few cacti along the trail.

Horsetooth Mountain Park- Horsetooth Falls

Horsetooth Mountain Park has many trails, but the Horsetooth Falls Trail is one of the easier trails. This trail is an out and back, with the whole trip being about 2.4 miles. There are many ups and downs on this trail but few steep climbs. At the end of the trail is a waterfall (sometimes a small trickle) with a water pool. This trail has some narrow portions so be aware of other trail users. I recommend this trail because it is a good workout, and ends in an very pretty waterfall.

These are my favorite trails for dogs in Fort Collins. Most trails in Fort Collins are dog friendly, but few like Bobcat Ridge and Soapstone Natural Areas are not. Always be aware of wildlife and other hikers. Check out our previous article on heat stress in dogs and have a great hike with your furry friend.

How Do I Get My Dog into Shape?

 

Getting into shape is a common New Year’s goal for people and their pets. With over 50% of pets overweight, getting into shape is good goal. So, what can you do to help you get your dog into shape?

 

Playing

Playing with dogs can seem like a no brainer. A great calorie burning activity is fetch. Tossing the ball around gets your dog running and engaging many muscles. For a little more oomph in your fetch game, use a ChuckIt, which launches balls much farther than a person can throw them.

 

Getting outside 

Going for walks, hikes or runs is a great way to get your pup (and yourself) active. For overweight or out of shape dogs, start slow. Start with a slow 5-10 minute walk, then increase the speed and duration of your walks over a few weeks. Always bring water for your dog and read his body language to see when he is tired. Once your dog is in shape (and possibly with vet approval) start going for runs or long hikes.

 

 

Reducing calories 

In conjunction with exercise, reducing the calories your dog eats is key to him or her losing weight. Reducing calories can mean switching to a low calorie food or simply reducing the amount of food your dog gets. Start by cutting out excess calories, like lots of wet food or treats. Try feeding your dog healthy treats like freeze dried liver (available at the pet store) or pet friendly fruits and veggies (like watermelon and carrots). As an alternative to wet food try a small amount of boiled chicken. You can also add veggies to your pet’s dry food to add some extra bulk and fiber. This can help make the transition to a lower amount of food easier. Steamed string beans and carrots are great to add to your dog’s food.

 

Every pet parent wants their dog to stay happy and healthy! Getting your pup into shape helps keep your pet healthy and might even help you get healthier too.