Posts

Animal Idioms to Brighten Up Your Day!

 

We’ve all heard and probably used, animal idioms – or proverbs – in conversation. For instance, “crying over spilt milk” refers to complaining about a loss from the past; focusing precious time on something that cannot be changed. Have you ever stopped to ponder animal idioms and their meaning? No? Well, let’s have a little bit of fun!

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

It’s a commonly used idiom, but do you know where its meaning derived? This popular version of the phrase is condensed from its previous content, which states “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.” The latter part changes its meaning – for the better – because now the cat gets to live! Maybe that’s how the expression “A cat has nine lives” came to be (we’ll dive into that one next!). However, the first chronicled use of the phrase was a bit different. In 1598 a British p

Animal Idioms

laywright wrote “…Helter Skelter, hang sorrow, care will kill a cat, up-tails and all…” The word “care” was used to express worry or sorrow. Today’s more modern version of the idiom is used as a warning, announcing excessive curiosity may lead to harm or even death.

“A cat has nine lives.”

In fact, if you’ve ever had a feline companion, you’ve probably noted several demonstrations from your fur buddy where you’ve thought to yourself, “Wow. I’m surprised Buddy isn’t dead!” And there you have it – the simple meaning of the proverb – cats can survive accidents that are severe enough to result in death. Want proof? Google “cat raises from the dead Florida” and you’ll see what I mean!

“Dog days of summer”

Comparatively,  our canine companions have their own animal idioms as well.  And sure, you’ve heard references to this, but do you know what it means and how the saying came to be? The term dates back to ancient Romans, who, when studying the “Big Dog’ constellation, noticed the star Sirius – known as the “dog star,” and the brightest star in the nighttime sky – rose with the sun from April 3rd to August 11th. The Romans believed the sun and the dog star were teaming together to produce great days of heat. Hence, the current “dog days of summer” was born!

“Let sleeping dogs lie?”

So, is this something that you have you ever said?  Well if you have, you’ve probably recognized a situation that should be left alone, as interfering may result in greater problems; particularly if it is something from the past that should not be resurrected. Geoffrey Chaucer, a great English poet from the Middle Ages, used a similar phrase in a story he published way back in 1374 – “It is nought good a sleeping hound to wake.” Boy, was he right!

There you have it – a few interesting examples of animal idioms. How many can you think of?

Do You Know All The Great Things That Pet Sitters Do?

 

Did you know that our pet sitters can do more than just walk and play with your pets? Because we can ! And while we can do a lot, there are a few things we can’t do. Here are a few questions to help you find out about the extra services we can provide.

Will a pet sitter….?

Take out my trash?

If you are out of town on trash day we will be happy to roll your bin out to the curb and bring it back in. We will also dispose of any waste from your animal during our visit.

Water my plants? 

Sure! As long as you don’t have a forest in your home, we’d be happy to water your house plants for you.

Bring in my mail? 

Yes! We are happy to bring in your mail and leave it on your counter top for you. This is especially perfect for when you’re out town for the week. Also, we can also turn lights on and off while you’re out of town to make it look like someone is home.

Clean my house? 

Yes and no. We will clean up any mess from your pets, but we aren’t maids. We can’t clean up any general messes in your home.

Clean my kitchen? 

We have a lot of pets to visit in a day and we simply don’t have time to clean your kitchen for you. If your pet’s food and water is in the kitchen and they’ve spilled it, we will make sure that is all swept and mopped up. However, we can’t clean up your dishes from breakfast.

Do my laundry? 

No, unfortunately we won’t be doing any of your laundry. If your pet messes up their bed or linens, we will do our best to make sure it is clean. If something needs to be thrown in the wash, we will put it in your laundry room and leave you a note.

As you can see, pet sitters can do a lot more than walking and comforting pets, but we can’t do everything around your home. Don’t hesitate to give us a call and set up an appointment!

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.

 

 

 

Notice the Changes? Introducing Wet Noses Pet Sitting!

15192595_1407262175965274_8846302712745982259_n

 

If you’re reading this post, then I’m sure you’ve noticed the major changes we’ve gone through this month. We are super excited to be launching our new website and business name, Wet Noses Pet sitting! If you get our newsletter you may have already known we were cooking up some changes.

First off, thank you to all of our amazing clients who have been with us over the last 6 years! It is because of you that we have moved past just working in one part of Fort Collins to all of Fort Collins and Loveland.  And with growth comes changes, we wanted a name that better represented what we do. That’s why Sidehill Sitters is now Wet Noses Pet Sitting.

So, what has changed?

What’s the same at Wet Noses Pet Sitting?

  • Same great sitters!
  • Same great services!
  • The Leashtime link will be the same
  • Our social media links are the same

If you have SidehillSitters.com saved in your bookmarks, then you were automatically sent to our new site. Go ahead and bookmark this page to make sure in a few months you will still be able to find us easily.

For our current clients, you will receive new business cards and emergency cards with your holiday card. Again thank you so much for being a part of our community and business. We sincerely appreciate each and every one of you. Also, if you have any questions about our changes, don’t hesitate to let us know or visit our FAQ’S!

Don’t forget to keep up to date with our blog, events, and other great information by signing up for our newsletter!

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! 

 

 

Is Sidewalk Salt Bad for My Dog?

 

As the temperature drops and ice become more of a threat, homeowners will begin applying sidewalk salt to melt the ice. But is all sidewalk salt bad for your pets? While there are many pet-safe salt options, not all homeowners will use them. So what are the risks of sidewalk salt and how can you keep your pet safe.

Sidewalk ice salt is made of a variety of ingredients such as sodium chloride (table salt), magnesium chloride, or calcium chloride. While sodium chloride is safe for pets many of these other ingredients are not.

Possible risks of sidewalk salt

  1. Sidewalk salt is irritating to dog paws (and human skin)
  2. Sidewalk salt is poisonous when ingested and can cause kidney problems
  3. Sidewalk salt can irritate the respiratory tract when inhaled

So what can you do to reduce the risk to your dog?

  1. Try to avoid walking your dog in areas where unsafe salt may have been used
  2. Wipe your dog’s paws right away after each walk; this will prevent your dog from licking the salt off of his paws
  3. Do not allow your dog to lick water off the ground
  4. Walk your dog is winter booties (available at most pet stores)
  5. Use pet-safe ice melt (this is made of urea)

While sidewalk salt can be a winter risk, it shouldn’t prevent you and your dog from having an awesome walk.

Clicker Training Tips

 

There are many different positive reinforcement training methods available to both cat and dog owners. One of my favorite methods is clicker training, it is a good way to quickly train your pet with less treats than traditional training.

Clicker training is used by thousands of animal trainers to teach all types of animals. It can be used to teach dogs obedience, leash manners, agility and many other things. It can also be used to teach tricks and other positive behaviors to cats.

What is clicker training?

Clicker training is using a sound (generally a clicker) to positively reinforce your pet for a behavior he or she is doing. In clicker training, a click is used every time a good behavior happens and treats are given later (which means fewer treats).

 

Why should I clicker train my pet? 

Clicker training has a couple of cool benefits. Clicker training allows you to reward positive behavior more quickly than giving your pet a treat. Depending on your reaction time, you could be clicking 10-15 seconds after your pet does the positive behavior. Giving a treat to your pet generally takes a longer time, which may cause your pet to forget the positive behavior he or she did. This helps your pet learn what the behavior you want to see, and learn it more quickly.

Because you click for each behavior rather than give your pet a treat, you feed less treats per training session. This is really helpful if you are working with an overweight pet or do not want your pet to gain weight.

 

How do I get started clicker training? 

Clicker training is all about associating a sound with a reward, so start by picking a sound. Pick a sound that is easy to make and distinct (will not be heard outside of training). For example, it is not recommended you use a clap because your pet will hear clapping outside of the training session and may get confused. This is the reason many people use the clicker. It is a very distinct sound, and it may be quicker to make than any sound you can make on your own. Clickers are easy to find at pet stores and generally cost around $2.

 

Next get started with your first sessions of training. These sessions will be very treat heavy, so pick a treat that your dog likes. Because clicker training is all about associating a sound with a reward (like a treat) you will be clicking and giving your dog a treat per click. Start by getting your dog’s attention, and simply clicking the clicker. After each click, quickly give your dog a treat. Do this for a few 5-10 minute sessions. After a few sessions, start mixing in simple behaviors with clicking. For example, have your dog sit, then click and treat. Do this for a few sessions and slowly wean down to only treating for every 10 clicks. Be sure to give your pet some treats after each session to tell him that he did a good job.

Next move on to the first behavior you want to teach, do so slowly. Because your dog is new to training, still give treats pretty frequently during the sessions. If you are teaching a complicated behavior, like how to walk nicely on a leash, use multiple steps to teach this. For simple behaviors you can use one step. An example I am going to use is teaching a pet how to come. Have someone hold your pet at the other end of the room and use your come signal. Only when your pet comes to you, give a click and give a treat. Repeat this behavior, give a click and treat the second and third times. The next time your pet comes, give only a click. Repeat this for the remainder of your session, mixing in a few treats with clicks. At the end of the session give your pet treats to tell him he did a good job. At each training session, reduce the amount of treats given during the session to only treating at the end. Do this until your pet masters the behavior.

 

Clicker training is a great way to teach pets positive behaviors. Be sure to use treats your pet likes and keep training sessions short for success!

 

Why Mutts are Fantastic!

 

Did you know October celebrates “Adopt-a-Dog Month,” sponsored by the American Humane Association, and “Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month,” sponsored by the ASPCA? And did you know 75% of the dogs in shelters are mixed-breeds, or mutts? In honor of those precious mutts waiting for their furr-ever families, here’s a list of reasons why mixed-breeds are truly mutt-tastic!

1. They come in all sizes, with short, long, curly or wiry coats in every color; they have small ears that stand straight up, big floppy ears that wave in the wind, droopy ears that drag the ground; some have short legs, long legs, big fluffy tails, long tails, or no tail at all. Whatever you’re looking for in a canine companion, the mutts have it!

2. Perhaps you’re looking for a very social dog who can help you meet new people, or one who is security conscious and has a flare for barking when he hears a knock on the door. Want a four-legged walking partner, or a lap dog who enjoys long petting sessions on the couch? Whatever your lifestyle, there’s a mutt out there who will fit right in.

3. Animal shelter adoption fees are much more affordable than the cost of a purebred dog. But, keep in mind, every dog requires a financial commitment in order to ensure a happy and healthy addition to your family. All breeds, whether pure or mixed, require a nutritious diet, routine vet visits, grooming supplies, bedding, toys, various other odds and ends, and most importantly, love, affection and dedication.

4. Mutts are just as trainable as purebreds; many are even great athletes! Looking for a four-legged family friend? One that will obey commands, play with your kids, maybe even compete in dog agility contests? A mutt can do all these things and more!

5. While this isn’t a characteristic of a mutt itself, welcoming one into your family means you are saving a life. Adopting a magnificent mutt means there’s one less animal languishing in the system.

They may be mixed breeds… mutts… mongrels… Heinz 57… but no matter what nickname you give them, mutts are no less wonderful for their unknown ancestry. And there’s likely one waiting just for you, ready to be your perfect canine companion!

Can’t adopt right now? Well, there are other ways you can help the mutts and homeless animals out there in our nation’s shelters. Here are some simple ways to help:

1. Contact your local shelter or rescue group and ask if they have a donation wish list or other flyer you can post around your neighborhood, office, health club, etc. They may be holding special events for Adopt-a-Dog Month / Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month which you can help promote.

2. Sign up to be a foster parent or shelter volunteer.

3. Donate funds to your local shelter in honor of Adopt-a-Dog Month / Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month.

4. Pass on an understanding of the importance of pet adoption to the next generation. Talk to your kids, your friends’ kids and young family members about animal shelters and why pet adoption is important.

With so many great options in shelters all over America, a mixed breed dog is a great choice for your next furry family member.

 

Does My Dog Lick Excessively?

 

Do you ever catch your pooch in the act of licking his feet, forearms, or other extremity so ferociously you think to yourself, “wow, that must really feel good”? While his licking may seem a non-issue, and one that provides him joy, that doesn’t mean it might not be his response to an underlying issue if they lick excessively.

Canine acral lick dermatitis (ALD) – also known as lick granulomas – is a lesion to the skin caused by chronic licking, resulting in skin inflammation. Over time, the skin thickens and the area can’t heal because they lick excessively. The licking and the inflammation cause itching, which causes your dog to lick even more, creating a vicious cycle of itching, licking, inflammation, and the inability to heal.

ALD can also result in secondary issues including bacterial infection, ruptured hair follicles and ruptured sweat glands. These issues just add fuel to the cycle, making the itching even worse which increases your dog’s need to lick.

The most common location for ALD is on the front side of a front leg between the elbow joint and paw, though they are often found on the ankle and between the toes. The condition is most often seen in middle-aged, large-breed dogs. Many veterinarians believe itchy skin triggers the excessive licking, although it is thought it can also be set off by a painful condition, such as trauma to the leg, a fracture, post-surgical discomfort, arthritis, or nerve damage. A fungal or bacterial infection, as well as skin mites, can also trigger itching in your pooch.

Not only is ALD rooted in health conditions, incessant licking is also a common obsessive-compulsive disorder in dogs – yes, dogs can have OCD, too! Rover’s licking may trigger the release of endorphins (a chemical in the brain that leads to feelings of happiness) and once he learns licking brings about a pleasant feeling, he’ll likely continue to do it. As well, psychological factors such as boredom, stress and separation anxiety can result in excessive licking. To best determine how to treat the issue, it is important to determine the cause.

If you suspect your pooch has an ALD lesion, there will typically be a raised area of ulceration, hair loss, and thickened skin around the lesion. Your veterinarian should first rule out any potential allergies first, as a dog with recurrent skin or ear infections, hot spots, or itching in other areas may have an allergic condition that needs treatment. Several tests are needed to diagnose ALD, including skin scrapings and fungal cultures, and to look for infection.

If it is determined that your pooch is indeed suffering from ALD, once treated effectively, you’ll likely need to address any psychological or emotional factors that may have contributed to your pet’s obsessive licking. Try to refocus his energy with frequent walks, playtime, and other methods of physical activity. Make sure you and everyone in your family pays extra attention to Rover, stimulating his brain and keeping him happy and secure.

The best way to prevent ALD is to talk to your vet as soon as you notice you dog start to lick excessively. Make a habit of running your hands over Rover regularly to check for damp fur or sensitivity. If you notice him licking a particular spot but there’s no injury to the skin, wrap the area with an Ace bandage to discourage further licking. Anything you can do to prevent Rover from self-injury will be extremely beneficial.

While we associate licking with a dog’s natural instinct, sometimes it can serve as a sign of an underlying issue and, when done excessively, should never be ignored.

Herding Tips

 

As many pet parents know, a bored dog can become a naughty dog. Many behavioral issues can be related to boredom. It is important to keep in mind that most dogs were bred to have a job, like herding sheep or retrieving ducks. Without a job, they have lots of unused energy and brain space. You can capitalize on the job your dog is bred for to keep him entertained. With a few herding tips, you’re dog can easily be on the way to a more fulfilling life!

This article is going to talk about herding and similar activities. Most herding breed dogs and mixes of herded breed dogs show herding tendencies (like nipping heels,grabbing pant legs and pushing their body into you).My Australian shepherds, when bored, have taken up herding humans. This, while entertaining to watch, is not fun when your heels get nipped. So we decided to channel those instincts into herding tips and classes.

Herding

Herding is gathering animals into a large group and moving that group. Dogs can herd pretty much any animal, but common ones are sheep and ducks.Most of the dog breeds have a herding style specific to their breed which is usually hard to see at home, but is very easy to spot while they are working. For example australian shepherds herd by nipping the animals heels and leaning their body into the animal. While most dogs have an instinct to herd, they do still need to be trained in order to keep the dog and animals safe.

Most dog owners do not have the experience to train their dog to herd, so you can go to a herding trainer and take classes. Asking around in the local dog community will usually turn up a trainer but the AKC also has a list of herding clubs per state.

If you cannot find a herding trainer near you there is Treiball.

Treiball 

Treiball is a herding game. Instead of herding sheep the dog herds large balls. In treiball you and your dog herd the balls into a soccer net. In competitions the team who does this the fastest wins, but at home you can play however you would like.The dog can use his nose or body to move the ball. One of the benefits of treibball is that you can do it in your own backyard and can (likely) train your dog your own. It is also a great way to work with your dog as a team. There is lots of information on the game and how to train your dog online. This may not be a good option if you have a dog who loves balls, as the large balls can be very fun to bite and pop.

These are two good options to put your dog to work, and keep him entertained. Hopefully you will notice a big change in your now working dog, in my case it was less nipped heels.