Posts

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!

Valentine’s Day Gifts For Cats

 

Is your kitty your Valentine this year? What do you get him or her? Cats generally don’t like chocolate or roses, but these gifts are sure to win your cat’s heart over. Here are some great Valentine’s Day gifts for cats.

Catnip 

Most kitties love catnip! Catnip can be a great Valentine’s Day gift for cats. For a gift sure to please buy or make your kitty a catnip toy. Making a catnip toy at home is easy.

Catnip sock toy:

  1. Start with a children’s or small sock, catnip and a needle and thread
  2. Fill the sock with catnip
  3. Sew the top of the sock closed with the needle and thread
  4. Give the sock to your kitty

Another great catnip gift is fresh catnip. You can find fresh catnip at pet stores or grow it from seeds.

Treats 

Treats are awesome Valentine’s Day gifts for cats. A cool new treat is flaked tuna. These are thin flakes of freeze dried tuna that can be fed as treats or as a topping for food. For some homemade treat ideas, check out our previous blog posts on Valentine’s Day treats for cats.

Collars 

A new collar is a fun Valentine’s Day gift for cats. Many cats will love a collar with hearts on it (and maybe a bell). Be sure to fit the collar correctly to keep your cat safe.

Furniture 

A cat tree is a sure win for Valentine’s Day gifts for cats. For a new cat tree check out your local petstore. For a smaller gift try a new cat bed or scratching post. Want to make a homemade cat bed? Take a small box and decorate it, with lots of hearts using construction paper and child-safe markers. Place a pillow in the box and you have a wonderful DIY cat bed.

Valentine’s Day can be a great holiday to share with your cat. These Valentine’s Day gifts for cats are sure to make your cat’s day.

Is Sidewalk Salt Bad for My Dog?

 

Taking your dog for a walk is great and has many health benefits for both of you. Yet, 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.

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.

Many public places, such as parks, don’t use pet-safe ice melt. Avoiding these areas can help reduce the risk of your pet getting non pet-safe ice melt on their paws.

2. Wipe your dog’s paws right away after each walk; this will prevent your dog from licking the salt off of his paws.

You can either use a damp cloth or a pet-safe wipe of your choice. These Earth Rated wipes also come in unscented.

 

Earth Rated Dog Wipes on Amazon @ $29.99

3. Do not allow your dog to lick water off the ground.

Ground water can contain a variety of things, not to mention remnants of ice melt which is toxic if ingested.

4. Walk your dog is winter booties.

There’s many different brands out there but if you’re looking for a sturdy pair to invest in, RUFFWEAR makes durable boots that are not only designed for the winter but also hiking and outdoors. You can find pet booties online and at most local pet retailers.


RUFFWEAR, Grip Trex Outdoor Dog Boots on Amazon @ $37.50

5. Use pet-safe ice melt.

The best thing you can do to help yourself and other pet parents is to use pet-safe ice melt. Pet-safe ice melt is commonly made out of urea. Here are two brands of pet-safe ice melt you can pick up either online or in store.

 

Safe Paw Ice Melt on Amazon @ $19.91

 

https://img.smartpak.com/images/product/highres/26205_12lbjug.jpg

Pestell Paw Thaw Pet Friendly Ice Melter, Bag, 25 lbs on PetCo @ $24.99

Dangers of Sidewalk Salt Infographic

While sidewalk salt can be a winter risk, it shouldn’t prevent you and your dog from having an awesome walk. Do you have a favorite pet-safe ice melt or other cold weather precautions we should know? Let us know in the comments or @WetNosesPetSitting

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.

4 Tips for Keeping your Cat Entertained

 

If you are away from home for a few hours or a few weeks, your cat is bound to notice. Even laid back, lazy cats need something to keep them entertained. Bored cats will often develop “problem behaviors” to keep themselves entertained, like scratching inappropriately. So short of playing with your cat 24/7 what can you do to keep your cat entertained?

1. Cat TV

Most cat owners know the fascination their kitty has with the small animals outside the window, you can easily capitalize on that and keep your kitty entertained for hours. Pick a window you don’t mind turning into your cat’s zone and place a bird feeder within sight, and very close to the window. Fill the bird feeder with seeds and other foods to attract wildlife. Put a cat tree or other area for your cat to sit and watch the bird show.

Just keep an eye on this if you live in an area with free roaming outdoor cats, because they may come to see your kitty and upset her.

2. New Objects 

Most pet parents and human parents are familiar with this situation: you buy an expensive, cool new toy and your pet (or kid) plays with the box. While this can be disappointing, seize this opportunity to find new ways to entertain your cat.

Cardboard Boxes

Give your cat cardboard boxes, newspaper or non-glossy paper and paper bags. For cardboard boxes, be sure to remove any staples, or other dangerous objects of the box including loose tape. I generally like to use food boxes because they have lots of interesting smells in them too, just make sure there is no actual human food left in the box.

Paper

You can give your cat newspaper or other types of non-glossy paper. Most newspaper ink is soy based and is safe for use around animals. You can try leaving the paper on the ground for your cat to step on (it makes a cool noise) or crinkling it into balls for you cat to bat around. 

Paper Bags 

Paper bags can be very fun toys for cats, they can hide in them, bat them around and sit on them. You can use the paper bags from the grocery store (just rip the handles off so your cat cannot get caught in them) or the smaller paper lunch sacks.

3. Hiding food 

Wild cats spend most of their time hunting and looking for food. Domestic cats, not so much.One way to keep your cat entertained is to make getting her food a bit hard then just finding the bowl.  There are lots of toys on the market for cats that can be used to make your cat work for her food ( think the cat version of a kong). These are a great option. You can also hide food in the boxes, paper and paper bags from above. Use dry food or treats, as wet food can be messy outside of a bowl. I recommend letting your cat watch you hide the food the first few times so that she gets the idea and make the food easy to get to (leave the box open). You can also you strong smelling treats to help your cat find the food more easily.

4. New Smells 

Cats, as territorial animals, are very interested in new smells of any kind. The key thing with introducing new scents is making sure that they are not toxic if your cat licks the scented area. Keep in mind that your cat may spray urine on the scented spot to mark over the new smell. If he does this then scents are not a good enrichment option. You can use a variety of smells, food and natural. Something I find works really well is microwaving a hot dog in a paper towel, the hot dog juices will get on the paper towel and you can wipe this on the surface you want to scent, like a cardboard box. You can use a similar method for most types of meat, or use the juice in wet cat food. Herbs are also an option. Most types of mint, like catnip, are safe for cats and some other herbs and flowers are.

This is an incomplete list of some safe plants:

  • Lemongrass
  • Parsley
  • Zinnias
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender

For herbs, you can either rub them on surfaces or place them in satchels (just make sure your cat does not try to eat the satchel).

5. Hire a Cat Sitter!

Just like a dog walker, you can have a cat sitter come to your home and play with your kitties when you are out of town or just busy. Our sitters are experts at making friends with new cats and devising ways to keep them entertained, including bringing fresh catnip that we grow just for our clients. Contact Us to discuss some options that work well for your cat!

The Dangers of Xylitol in Peanut Butter

The Dangers of Xylitol in Peanut Butter Header

The Dangers of Xylitol in Peanut Butter

Recently, there has been a post going around Facebook telling dog parents not to give their dogs peanut butter. If you look further into why peanut butter can be deadly to your pup, you will find xylitol to blame.

So what the heck is it? Xylitol is a food additive that is used to replace sugar in many foods. It is found in hundreds of food and health products, such as gum, human toothpaste, vitamins, and now peanut butter. While xylitol is perfectly safe for humans it is extremely toxic to dogs. Potentially more toxic than chocolate.

When minimal amounts of xylitol is used are used  (like doggie mouth wash) it is perfectly safe for your dog. However, the concentrations of the sweetener in most human food is very dangerous to your dog and can cause poisoning.

Dog being fed peanut butter

What are the symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs?

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination or difficulty walking or standing (walking like drunk)
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Left untreated poisoning can lead to liver damage. These symptoms typically show up 10-60 minutes after eating it.

What should you do?

1. Always read the labels of any product you giver your pooch and look for potentially poisonous things. Only some brands of peanut butter have this type of deadly sweetener in them.
2. Do not leave gum or toothpaste where your dog can get to them.
3. If your dog does eat xylitol, call your vet right away.

With veterinary care arriving quickly, your dog will hopefully be able to have a full recovery.

What peanut butter is safe?

Many brands don’t contain xylitol but if you want to be extra cautious you should purchase a dog-safe peanut butter. Here are a few brands on the market that all fit different pet owners needs.

Pawnut Butter

Green Coast Pet Pawnut Butter @ $9.99

Super Snouts Nutty Dog CBD Spread @ $29.99

Natural Peanut Butter For Dogs | Woof Butter – woofbutter.com

woof butter Natural Peanut Butter @ £3.99

What about birch sugar?

Did you know another name for xylitol in peanut butter is birch sugar? With more companies being aware of consumers hesitancy towards purchasing products containing xylitol they have come up with other ways to label xylitol-containing products.

Birch Sugar is another name for Xylitol

Once you’ve checked your peanut butter labels, why not try our Peanut Butter Molasses Dog Treats. Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments or @WetNosesPetSitting.

Will You Watch My Pets When I go into Labor?

 

So, you are pregnant and looking forward to the amazing day, but you inevitably think, “Who will watch my pets when I go into labor?”  You are not the only one!  At Wet Noses Pet Sitting we have helped quite a few people in this exact situation, enough that it was decided we needed a blog with all of the details!

If you are still deciding whether you will need a sitter, the answer is yes.  We have had more than one client not think they will need a sitter then call us at the last minute in a panic (from the hospital) to get us to run out and care for their pets.  Either their family that they expected to help out has not made it to town, the labor has been difficult and the husband does not want to leave or the weather is bad and the trip from the hospital will take longer than expected.

Here is the truth:  Adding a human child to the home will be one of the most difficult transitions in the life of your pet.  Do not make the situation worse by stressing out your pets with long stays at home alone broken up by quick trips outside with a distracted family member or friend.  Instead look at this as a time to get your furry friends some extra exercise or playtime.  A sitter can go on special walks or have cuddle time so that when you come home with your new family member your fur child is not already feeling stressed or full of energy.

Plan for needing a pet sitter and do not worry about your fur kids during this important time.  How to prepare depends on whether you are already a client of Wet Noses Pet Sitting.

If you are already a client:

  • Notify our office of the situation and let us know your due date.  We will check on the availability of your regular sitter around that time and notify the sitter of the upcoming dates.  Due to the unknown time we cannot guarantee your regular sitter but we will try to pair you with that person if at all possible.
  • Make sure we have keys to your home.  If you normally have your keys returned, this is not the time for last minute arrangements.  Your primary sitter should have a key and we should have one in our office as a backup.
  • Make sure all of your information it up to date in our system.  If any information changes in the following weeks be sure to change it right away.
  • When the time comes contact us right away!  After hours there is a way to get through to an on call manager, use it!  We will arrange visits according to your requested times.  If your normal sitter is not available we will send a backup sitter, but your pets will be well cared for.
  • Keep in contact.  We will continue services for your pets until we hear from you but it is nice to have an idea of when you plan to return home or if a family member will be taking over.

If you are not a client:

  • Get set up as a client!  If possible consider taking a day or two away to allow your pets to get used to having a sitter in the house.  We do require a $50 minimum to get you set up as a client, which we normally do not require until your appointment but in this case we will require it in advance of meeting your sitter.
  • Notify our office of the situation and let us know your due date.  Even if you do not have an appointment before your due date we will set you up with a sitter and have you meet with the person to gather keys and go over details.  We will attempt to pair you with a sitter that will be available on your due date but due to the unknown time we cannot guarantee the same person.
  • Make sure you keep all of your information up to date in our system.  If any information changes after your client meeting be sure to change it right away.
  • When the time comes contact us right away!  After hours there is a way to get through to an on call manager, use it!  We will arrange visits according to your requested times.  If the sitter you met with is not available we will send a backup sitter, but your pets will be well cared for.
  • Keep in contact.  We will continue services for your pets until we hear from you but it is nice to have an idea of when you plan to return home or if a family member will be taking over.

This can be a stressful time but the proper preparation can make it a little easier for both you and your fur kids!