Tag Archive for: sidehill sitter

Why Does My Dog Not Like Walking In The Rain?


My three year old loves playing in the rain and jumping in puddles. But do you know who doesn’t love being in the rain? Our dog Rigsby. He hates going out in the rain, even to potty; that means taking a walk in the rain is absolutely out of the question.

So, why do so many dogs hate walking in the rain? We’ve compiled a few reasons why and ways to help get them out during rainy days.


  • Pelted Coats & Soggy Paws

Sometimes the reason is as simple as your dog doesn’t like the damp outdoors. Dogs coats are very sensitive. If you notice a dog getting rained on you can see their fur twitching, which has to be pretty annoying for them. Same goes for your dog’s paws. I mean, do you like walking on the wet ground in bare feet? I didn’t think so. Between the rain on their backs and the water on the ground, walking in the rain can be a pretty miserable experience for your dog.


  • Thunderstorm Phobias

A lot of times rain mean thunder and lightning. Animals have the knack for sensing storms before we even know they are coming. When dogs with storm phobias sense the change in the air and barometric pressure, the anxiety starts to creep up. A dog with storm phobia shouldn’t be forced to go outside because it may make it worse. Some dogs have a natural predisposition to have anxiety, others have had traumatic experiences with loud noises. But for the most part, there is no telling why your dog has thunderstorm phobias. All you can do is work with them and help them through it. 


  • How You Can Help

Rain happens and sometimes for days at a time. Your dog will still need to get out and use the potty at some point. Luckily there are some great products out there to help your dog through the distaste and fear of the rain.

Doggy Anti-Anxiety Stress Reducing Jacket 

Image from Amazon

Help your dog stay calm with this stress-reducing jacket. Similar to swaddling a baby, this jacket helps comfort your dog when they are feeling anxious.

Storm Stress Relaxing Drops for Dogs


Stress from storms, hurricanes or even strong wind can be reduced with these drops.


Dog Boots 

Keep their paws dry during the storm and even in the snow with these cute little dog boots.

Transparent Umbrella with Leash

Avoid the pelting rain with this cute leash umbrella combo. Perfect for the rainy and snowy days.


Waking in the rain doesn’t have to be a terrible experience for you and your dog. With a better understanding and a few good tools, there is sunshine at the end of the storm!

Why Does My Dog Not Like New Year’s Eve?

If you are asking yourself this question, then you’ve probably had a traumatizing experience with Fido while watching the Times Square ball drop at midnight. If you’re like most people, New Year’s Eve is a night filled with lots of family, friends, fun, and noise. LOTS of noise. Though the noise may not bother you, your dog’s hearing is four times better than yours. Their natural instinct is to RUN.

One minute you’re cuddling with Fido and the next he is nowhere to be found. He most likely ran outside or hid under the bed, searching for a secure place to hide. While you’re frantically running around looking for your precious pooch, you get a knock on the door from your neighbor saying they found him wandering in their front yard. You think to yourself, “I’m so lucky I found you”.

If you can relate to this scenario, your dog most likely does not like New Year’s Eve.

A few reasons your dog doesn’t like New Year’s Eve

  • Decorations

See those streamers, balloons, and party hats? They may be fun for you, but for Fido? Not so much. He may be scared and not recognize you. This may lead to a change in behavior and his reactivity to you. If he shows signs of fear, take the hat off and reassure your pup that everything will be okay.

  • Loud Noises

Noisemakers, cheering and laughter are all part of the New Year’s Eve festivities. These are all scary noises for Fido. You may find him trembling and whining in fear. Ask your guests to bring the noise down a notch, and put your dog in a separate room with the TV or radio on.

  • Crowds

Is it your turn to host the annual New Year’s Eve party? Whether you are hosting a huge party, or it’s a group of your closest friends, these people are getting in your dog’s personal space. Large crowds are scary and Fido may react adversely. If your dog is not a social creature, spare him the anxiety and put him in a separate room.

  • Fireworks

Are your neighbors the type to set off fireworks in the middle of the street and make a huge commotion? If you answered yes, this may be why Fido is shaking uncontrollably while you “ooh” and “ah” at the light show. Fireworks are some of the scariest, loudest noises for dogs. Turn up the TV and keep your furry friend in a secure kennel or bedroom. If you have the opportunity to, try to stroke his back while you reassuringly hold him.

The reasons mentioned above may just be the tip of the iceberg as to why your dog does not like New Year’s Eve. Just remember, while you’re excited and ready to ring in the New Year, keep your furry friend in mind!



Homemade Valentine’s Day Cat Treats

Is your cat that lucky Valentine this year?  After all they are our special friends and constant companions. So celebrate the day with these delicious Valentine’s day cat treats!  And show your precious little fur baby some extra love.

Baked Tuna Valentine’s Day Cat Treats 


These treats add a little oomph to plain canned tuna.


  • Canned tuna
  • Cat friendly garnish (like catnip or wheat grass)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place parchment paper on a baking sheet
  2. Mix one can of tuna and one tablespoon of garnish in a medium bowl
  3. Use a teaspoon to scoop the tuna mix onto the baking sheet
  4. Form tuna mix piles into a heart shape on the baking sheet
  5. Bake these treats for about 5 minutes or until they are warm

Feed this Valentine’s day cat treat in moderation, too many treats can give your cat a stomach ache.

Spinach and Chicken Valentine’s Day Cat Treats

Many cats crave some roughage (like spinach) in their diets, it’s the reason many cats try to eat house plants. These treats are a great way to add some variety to your cat’s diet, all in the form of a tasty treat.


  • 1/2 pound of steamed boneless, skinless chicken thigh
  • 1 cup of spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of quick cooking oats
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and place parchment paper on a baking sheet
  2. Place the cooled chicken, spinach, oats and egg into a food processor or blender and blend until the mixture is smooth with some chunks
  3. Pour the chicken mixture into a bowl and add the flour, mixing with your hands
  4. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut with a small heart cookie cutter OR make thumbnail sized balls and flatten them
  5. Place the shaped dough on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick can be cleanly removed

Be sure to completely cook the chicken before adding it to the treat mixture. Feed these treats in moderation and break larger treats into cat sized pieces .

Cooked Salmon 

Cooked salmon is great as a special Valentine’s day cat treat. Many cats love this tasty fish. Be sure to cook all salmon thoroughly (by steaming or grilling) to make it safe for your cat. For this special treat, dice a small amount of cooked salmon and feed it to your kitty in a dish.


Valentine’s day can be filled with dangerous food for your cat. However, these Valentine’s day cat treats are sure to safely woo that special feline in your life.

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Cat Lovers


Does your Valentine love cats? Because cat lovers are a very passionate bunch. And that means they usually love to get gifts from them or about them. So, here are some Valentine’s Day gifts for cat lovers sure to make that special Valentine in your life happy.

Cat Valentine’s Day Cards

There are many amazing Valentine’s Day cards with cats on them or cat-themed. Check out Etsy and Pinterest for some cute handmade cards to send to that special Valentine.

Fancy Cat Supplies 

While your cat may not need those fancy,new ceramic bowls, they sure would look good in your house. Many cat lovers would enjoy some nice looking cat accessories. For nice bowls and beds check out TJ Maxx or your local pet store.

Cat Clothing

No, I don’t mean clothing for cat (although that could be a good gift)! Cat clothing is anything with cats on it. For some cool T-shirts check out the Fort Collins Cat Rescue, or other rescue organizations. For other cool cat items, check out Etsy or Amazon. They carry everything from cat gloves to cat necklaces.

Self-Defense Cat Key Chain 

This is a really great Valentine’s Day gift for cat lovers. It combines two awesome things, cats and self-defense. This key chain is shaped like a cat, you put your fingers in the eyes and can use the ears to poke your attacker. This gift is sold all over and can also be found on Amazon.

Sponsor or Adopt a Cat

Most rescue organizations have a sponsorship program for their cats. In these types of programs, a donor pays for the cats adoption fee and sponsors some of its care. This makes it easier for shelters to take care of the cat and helps the cat find a home. You can sponsor a cat or donate in someone else’s name as a gift.  This can make a great Valentine’s Day gift for cat lovers.

Whether you are looking for gifts to give a cat lover on your behalf, or on the cats, these gifts are sure to please. I hope your Valentine enjoys these Valentine’s Day gifts for cat lovers.

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.


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.


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. 




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.

5 Ways to Decrease the Chances of Your Dog Being Hit by a Car


It can be the worst thing imaginable, but your dog getting hit by a car is a real possibility. This is especially true in the summer when activities are at their peak. So, what can you do to decrease the chances of your dog being hit by a car?

1. Get your dog spayed or neutered

Not only is spaying and neutering important for population control, it also helps keep your dog close to home. Once a dog reaches sexual maturity the likelihood of them trying to escape to seek out mates is greater. Studies have shown that sexual roaming can decrease almost 90% after your dog has been fixed.

2. Make sure you have your dog on the proper leash and collar during walks

If you have the wrong size collar or leash, it is possible that your dog could slip out or yank free from your grasp. It’s important you choose the right collar for your dog to make sure they stay safe.

3. Check fences for holes or weak spots

Summertime is notorious for storms and falling tree limbs can damage fences. Check your fence after storms for any damage that could allow your dog to escape. You never know when your dog may get spooked by a storm or fireworks and try to hightail it out of the yard.

4. Teach your dog safety commands

Teaching your dog commands like “come” or “stay” are the most important commands they need.  This can help avoid them running out of the door or across the street to catch a squirrel or rabbit.

5. Go over dog safety techniques with the whole family

Summer can be a busy time for your front door. With cookouts and the kid’s being out of school, it is likely that your home sees more guests than ever during the summer months. Make sure everyone in the home knows some basic safety tips, like “The Doggy Doorknob Rule.” That’s when all members of the family and guests make sure to check for the dog before turning the doorknob. This will help avoid them escaping when people are coming in and out.


Keeping our pets safe is a main priority and anything you can do to decrease the chances of your dog being hit by a car is key. Don’t forget to read our blog on How to Teach Your Dog to Cross the Street for even more safety tips to keep your dog safe while enjoy the sunny days of summer! 


How Do I Keep My Dog Safe on the 4th of July?

It’s almost time for that beautiful American celebration where households all around the nation fire up the grill, stock up the fireworks and pick out a watermelon. Most of us love the chance to relax with our loved ones and enjoy an extra day off work while celebrating how great it is to live in the USA. However, it’s not always the safest or greatest time of year for our pets. So, make sure you remember these safety tips to keep your dog safe of the 4th of July.

1. Don’t bring them to a large party or fireworks display

If you’re going to a good friend or family member’s BBQ where you dog is very comfortable and it won’t be too loud, then, by all means, include them in the celebrations. If you’re going to an unfamiliar place for your dog with lots of food and festivities it’s best to leave them at home. The same goes for any type of firework displays, even if they are on your own block. Your dog will not like or appreciate being included for this event, so just leave them at home where they are much more comfortable.

2. Set them up a safe and quiet area at home

You may have an especially active firework-loving neighborhood and if so, make sure your dog is as far removed from the commotion as possible. This is can also be helpful for if you’re having a BBQ or party at your house. They can easily get out in the shuffle of guests, get into the trash, or even worse, get into alcoholic or poisonous substances while everyone preoccupied.

Put them in a bedroom or laundry room (with toxic items placed high on shelves) and turn on some ambient noise like a soft radio or TV.  Include their favorite toys and bed with some treats and water. This will help keep them safe and calm while the festivities can continue without worry.


Once the fireworks go off your dog can panic leading them to try to jump a fence or even get tied up and choke on their leash.


3. Update ID’s and microchips

This is a good time of year to get new collars and tags and to make sure that their microchips are up to date just in case they do happen to get out during the celebrations. If your dog happens to get out during the party, once the fireworks start you never know how far away they could run. It’s important to make sure they can be ID’d and brought home ASAP.


4. Use calming items like Thundershirts and soothing music

If you know your dog is nervous around loud noises, consider some preventative measurements. Thundershirts are like wraps that make your dog feel secure. They work for around half of dogs. Smoothing music or television may help drown out some of the noise.


Keeping your dog safe on the 4th of July isn’t too hard, just follow these few simple steps to help make them comfortable while you relax and enjoy your family and friends!


How to Get Your Cat to Play


Playing with fido or fluffy is one of the best parts of being a pet parent. There are a million different ways to play. Here are some that we have found most helpful for playing with your cat.

Many people find playing with your cat to a bit more difficult than playing with their dogs. Some cats love to play, others need to be coaxed into it. Play is so important to your cat’s health and your relationship with your cat. It is recommended that you play with you adult cat for at least 15 minutes a day.


Find a toy your cat likes. There are a million cat toys on the market, so there is one that your cat will like (or you can make on, see our article on cat enrichment). As a pet sitter, a toy I find is commonly liked is the feather/ball on a stick toy. These are available all over or can be made at home by tieing a toy or feather onto a piece of string. Many cats also like toys with catnip in them. These can easily be found at the pet store or can be made at home.

Learn how your cat likes to play. Cats have different play styles. Some like to stalk, some like to bat, others like to chase. Start with a stick toy and wave it in front of him. Start slowly then move the toy around of the floor. Your cat will likely try to bat at it and possibly catch in in his mouth.Ideally your cat will get up and chase the toy. This is the chase play style. If your cat sees the toy and slowly moves toward it before pouncing, this is the stalk play style. Try balls and stick or string toys with chase players. For stalk players use a laser pointer or long string with a toy tied on the end that you move slowly around the room.


Why is play important? 

Play has physical and mental benefits for you and your cats. In the United States, it is estimated that 58% of cats are overweight or obese. Playing is a great way to trick your cat into exercising. Using chase toys are a great way to get your cat up and moving. Start with short, slow play sessions then build up to longer and higher intensity play sessions. Play also helps mentally stimulate your cat. Many behavioral problems in cats are associated with your kitty being bored or under- stimulated. Playing helps activate your kitty’s brain. Try a catnip filled toy, thrown or hidden around the house to help activate your cat’s mind.


Play is very important for your cat, and one of my favorite parts of being your pet sitter!


5 Tips on Feeding and Medicating Pets


All of our sitters at Sidehill have lots of experience working with animals in various settings. Over the years we have picked up some tips for a variety of pet care topics such as feeding, medicating, walking and playing. This article will focus on feeding and medicating pets.


Your Sidehill sitter will always follow the feeding directions you give us, but here are some tips we have picked up over the years.

Wash out food and water bowls at least once a week.

After about a week a slimly layer of germs will build up in your pets water bowl, not only is this gross but it could make your pet sick. If you feed wet food, food bowls can end up with a lot of dried food stuck in them. All this dried food gives bacteria a good place to hide. Washing out food bowls removes these bacteria.

If you feed wet food, add water.

This tip has two positives, the first in cleaning and the other in pet health care. Adding about a tablespoon of water to wet food makes it much easier to clean. The food does not dry our as much so you can simply rinse the bowl rather than having to scrub dried food off. The other positive is that it tricks your pet into drinking some extra water.

Add water to an older pet’s dry food.

Dental disease is very common in pets, particularly older pets. This can cause their teeth to be sore and make it hard to eat dry kibble. By adding about a tablespoon of water and letting it sit you will soften the food and make it easier to eat. Many people find that this makes a huge difference in that amount of dry food their dog will eat.


Your Sidehill Sitter is a pro at medicating dogs and cats, here are some tips on how we do it.

Hide the pill.

The easiest way to medicate a dog or cat is to hide the pill. There are a million different ways to hide the pill and what you choose depends of what food your dog or cat likes to eat. Choose a food that your pet loves and will gobble up without a second thought. Many people sneak pills into their dogs food and mix it up with wet food, this works really well for dogs who love their food. What I have found to be the most effective method for dogs is hiding the pill in a teaspoon of peanut butter. Most dogs LOVE peanut butter and its sticky texture will keep the pill from falling it. Be sure the peanut butter you use is dog safe (see our article on Xylitol in a previous blog). Cats can be a littler trickier to trick into eating a pill. Many pet owners have found success using pill pockets or placing the pill in a soft treat. Another good option is mixing the pill in a tiny bit of canned tuna.

Tickle your pet.

This one sounds really odd but it is a good option for pilling dogs and cats. This method involves putting the pill in your pet’s mouth then making your pet swallow it. For dogs and cats who do not run away when you try to pill them, walk over and open your pet’s mouth. Put the pill of the as far back on your pet’s tongue as possible. Close your pet’s mouth and hold it closed. Now for the tickling part; while holding your pet’s head tilted up, stroke his or her throat with your finger. This will cause your pet to swallow, and swallow the pill. Be sure to watch your pet for a minute after to make sure he or she did swallow the pill and did not spit it out. For pets who are prone to running away as soon as they see a pill bottle do the same steps, but start by straddling your pet between your legs.

Hopefully these tips will help make pet care easier for you and leave more time for having fun with your pet. Tips on other pet care topics will be in future blogs.

Do you have any helpful advice for feeding, medicating pets or other pet care tips? Write them on our Facebook page or email them to us! We would love to hear your tips.