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DID YOU KNOW? 10 Smart Ways to Boost Your Pets’ Mood

DID YOU KNOW? 10 Smart Ways to Boost Your Pets’ Mood

  1. Rotate Toys. Instead of leaving all the toys out, pick them up and offer them a few at a time. Change it up so your dog isn’t bored.
  2. Go on Walks. Dogs love to sniff and explore. If they spend time in the house all day, it’s a good way for both of you to have quality time together.
  3. Train Obedience. A dog that understands what you expect is happy to oblige. They want to please you. A dog with manners is easier to spend more time with.
  4. Teach a New Trick. One of the ways my dogs and I got through the pandemic was finding ways to have fun. High five, find it, go around, sit in the middle, and leg weaves are just a few of the long list of tricks. Cats are good tricksters too.
  5. Maintain a Healthy Weight. Obesity in pets is a big problem today. Look at all the choices of pet food today geared toward trimming excess pounds. Your pets will feel better in the ideal weight
  6. Play Games. They are beneficial for building confidence and focus, and are fun activities for mental and physical stimulation. You can play games with toys or food. Tug, fetch, flirt poles, hidden treats, and scent games are all good examples. Choose a game appropriate for your dog’s breed and size.
  7. Be consistent with Rules and Boundaries. Everyone in the household is included. Dogs learn from us all the time. They watch and respond according to our praise and reinforcement or lack of it. Giving them mixed signals will confuse them.
  8. Give them a Good Grooming. A bath—if needed—a brushing, or a comb out helps keep them clean, removes allergens from their coat, and gives you a chance to check for fleas.
  9. Verbal and Physical Praise. Talking to them, petting them, or giving them a simple massage makes them feel safe, secure and loved.
  10. Introduce new, good quality treats from time to time. Spread them around the house, drop some among their toys, let them seek and find. It’s fun to discover their favorites.

Cats Special Mention: Keep pine needles away; hang cat safe, shatter-proof tree ornaments with string instead of wire hooks; skip the tinsel and fake snow; avoid mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias. If your tree is live, cover the water source to prevent your cat from drinking. Double check that cords and wires are not exposed and turn off the lights when you leave. Spend some time with your feline fur babies and enjoy a few magical moments together.

We Speak Dog and Cat

We Speak Dog and Cat

There is a trend in my industry for pet sitters who used to care for dogs and cats to streamline their services to cats only. Why is this happening? There are some advantages: easier scheduling, indoor visits, not as physically demanding as walking a dog, weather has less of an impact, most visits can be made in the late morning and early afternoon giving the pet sitter more down time. It’s tempting to consider, but I can’t see choosing one over the other. We love both and our training and client testimonials reflect that.

We are just as comfortable caring for either and our Fear Free approach puts both species at ease. We observe temperament and body language and use a quiet and gradual approach with each pet we visit. We love it when a shy cat or a fearful dog relaxes and accepts us.

We know where cats hide, how much food and water they consume, and if the litter box is being used appropriately. Our keen observations, noted in our visit reports, put pet owners at ease. When a kitty is ready for enrichment, we are happy to oblige with toys, wands, fetch, laser lights, and more.

There are many professional pet sitters, like us, who are skilled in lovingly caring for both cats and dogs in a calm manner that keeps them safe, secure, and relaxed. Over the years we have received many testimonials from cat clients who are delighted to come home to happy and relaxed cats – for first time. Some are incredulous that we have gotten their cat to leave the closet for a treat or some playtime. We win them over because we understand them and use a considerate approach to earn their trust.

Contact us for a fear-free, positive experience with your pet (dog or cat) next time they need proper care. We would love to establish a relationship with you and your furry companion.


Happy Pet! Happy Home!

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Creating Harmony for Dogs, Cats, and Holiday Guests

Creating Harmony for Dogs, Cats, and Holiday Guests

We welcome family and friends over the holidays. It’s a time of gratitude and celebration that may include joyful gatherings, good food, pleasant conversations, and fun. Sadly, for many pets, the holidays mean stress, fear, and anxiety. Strangers come and go, it’s noisy, the house is filled with different decorations, and the quiet routine is disturbed. Pets can’t find a place to settle and they don’t sleep as well. These are some triggers that make this season of the year challenging for pets.

You can help your pets stay calm by setting up a safe space for them (crate, room, x pen) where they feel secure and can get away from the activity. This quiet spot can be adorned with their favorite toys or chews, sprayed with Adaptil (dogs) or Feliway (cats), and calming music from the radio. Set this up in advance. Cats need a litter box, water, food, scratching post, and something familiar.

Ask your visitors to respect your pet and not to overwhelm them with unwanted attention or inappropriate food. You can set aside some of their usual treats for a pet lover to drop on the floor by your pet instead of offering it by hand.

Watch your pet’s body language to make sure they are comfortable. If they look away, shake off, yawn, pant, or act tense – encourage them to go to their safe spot. Oh, and most pets aren’t crazy about wearing a costume.

If your pet is a food thief, keep the serving areas out of his reach. Some dangerous holiday items are uncooked bones, chocolate, bread dough, sticks of butter, macadamia nuts/grapes and raisins, avocados, alcohol/cannabis/human medications, and sugar-free products containing xylitol (gum, some peanut butter). If you are traveling with your pet, make sure you are aware of where your pet is and keep them away from rodent control poisons and anti-freeze.

Watch the entryways. If your dog or cat is a door dasher, take steps to block this from happening. It’s a good idea to have a name tag secured to your dog’s collar.

If you use mistletoe or holiday tinsel, please keep these away from your cat.

Your pets are used to a quiet routine and aren’t used to strangers. It’s important to support them so your gatherings aren’t a source of stress. The signs of anxiety are so subtle, they can easily go unnoticed and your holiday ruined..

Be smart, be safe, and create wonderful holiday memories for your guests and all the members of your family.

Anyways, happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving from Crocketts Critter Care

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

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DID YOU KNOW? How to have healthy, happy indoor cats

DID YOU KNOW? How to have healthy, happy indoor cats

A cat’s emotional and physical well-being is determined by how well pet parents are meeting a cat’s needs.  These needs are equally divided among social, eating, sleeping, grooming, and hunting.  Cats are both predator and prey and are literally analyzing everything in terms of being safe or being in danger.  This includes every time they interact with you or other people, hear a sound, see a movement, smell something different.  They are doing this every second of every day.  Knowing this, we can provide a safer and more enriching environment to keep our pets healthy and happy.  Here are some tips to help:

Play should always mimic hunting styles and include all aspects of the hunt (eye, stalk, chase, pounce, kill) and  engage a cat’s senses of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. There are a multitude of toy choices or activities that are satisfying. Some of my favorites are toys on a pole, wand toys, and laser lights (providing the cat gets the red dot in the end).  Interactive play between a pet owner stimulates the brain, provides exercise, combats boredom, and strengthens your relationship.  Plus, it’s what cats like to do.  Keeping cats inside where they are safe while providing enrichment makes for a happy and healthy cat.

cat

Feeding can be done with food puzzles and slow feeders.  Ditch the bowl for something that encourages foraging and hunting.  Move the food around the house at different locations so they can search. Where would your cat want to eat?  Feed it there!  If you have a multi-cat household, spreading the food around gives cats more personal space to eat.  Some cat behaviorists believe that how we feed a cat is as important as what we feed them.

Cats sleep 12-16 hours a day.  Heated cat beds, perches, boxes or containers, a carrier, quiet places, and a spot in the sun are wonderful accoutrements for a sleepy cat.

Grooming is super important and serves more purposes than you might imagine.  It hides a cat’s scent from predators, cleans injuries, removes debris and parasites from fur, and disperses natural oils in the skin.  Cats love to be washed and enjoy grooming their housemates as well.  One thing we can do for them that they like is wash their whiskers and mouth with a warm washcloth. 
Cats, being social animals, would enjoy an indoor environment that engages all of the senses.  Cats love window perches, vertical climbing spaces, wall shelves, sun beam chasing, catios, cat friendly-music, videos, cat plant grass, fish tanks, and companionship. You can even bring the outside in by gathering leaves and placing them in a box for your cat to explore. 

Take a look around your home from your cat’s perspective and see what delights you can add to your cat’s world.  Giving your cat ways to display their natural behaviors will help reduce stress and give them more choices.  Happy Cat, Happy Home!

Help! I can’t walk my dog. What can I do?

Help! I can’t walk my dog. What can I do?

“Exercise restriction” may be recommended by a veterinarian for a number of reasons. A dog may be resting a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), receiving heart worm treatment, or recovering from an injury or surgery. I have encountered each of these scenarios in the last year, and the dogs ranged from normally active adolescents to slowing down seniors. What do we do with their pent-up energy and ensuing boredom? Fortunately, there are several activities that provide mental stimulation during this forced downtime.

Environmental enrichment: Increase their indoor level of low-impact activities. The right level of mental stimulation, and plenty of opportunities to be more dog will result in a dog that can cope better.

Ditch the bowl: Instead, feed your dog using food puzzles, snuffle mats, treat-filled Kongs, lickimats. You can scatter food and treats in different locations around the house or hide treats in a towel, a muffin tin, or a tube. Watch your dog explore the different options.

Mental stimulation: hunting, chewing, licking, mind and scent work, tricks and games are great low-impact activities for your dog.
Play can often meet our dog’s needs: Hidden Treasure – dogs have a remarkable sense of smell. Place a few small boxes or containers out on the floor and add a treat underneath one of them. Encourage your dog to sniff and find the treat. Praise them and reward them with the discovered treat. A snuffle mat, food puzzles, and lickimats all satisfy a dog’s need to hunt. Try puzzles with different skill levels to challenge your dog more. But don’t make it so hard that your dog gets frustrated.

Hide-and-seek is fun for children to play too. When your dog isn’t watching, pick the perfect spot to hide, call your dog, and celebrate their accomplishment with a yummy treat when they find you. This is a good way to practice recall.
Which hand game – this is the beginning of learning nose work. Place a treat in one hand, hold both hands out towards your dog in a fist and encourage them to pick the hand with the treat. Be sure your dog takes the treat nicely from your hand. If he is mouthy, it’s an opportunity to teach them manners.

Put your toys away is one of my favorites. Dogs like this one too. Start by having your dog pick up a toy near where they’re normally stored. Have your dog “drop it” while standing over the toy box. Once they get the hang of this, they can clean up after themselves. Patience and praise are a good recipe to support their progress.

Car rides/stroller walks may help soothe a dog’s confinement while they are on a limited exercise regime. Take them out for a spin. You can stop by a quiet spot for a picnic. Bring something novel along in a box and open it slowly with excitement (a feather, something with a lavender smell, a new treat) to add to the ambience. Sit for a spell and enjoy some quality time together.

Slow petting, similar to a gentle massage or a light scratching, is a sensory way to calm a dog down. Avoid areas where your dog doesn’t like to be touched. Some dogs don’t like the top of their head, muzzle, or ears touched.

Set your dog up for success. Enrichment activities must be safe and fun. Adjust the level of difficulty of puzzles and games gradually so your dog doesn’t get frustrated. Supervise the aggressive chewers so they don’t ingest any object pieces. Games and play are wonderful ways for your dog to pass the time when his normal activity routine is paused. Engaging with your dog is good for both of you. Enjoy the experience. When your dog is ready to resume normal activities, you will have a list of experiences to return to when it is wet, cold, hot or windy. Have fun.


Happy Pet! Happy Home!

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Halloween Tips for Your Pets!

Halloween Tips for Your Pets!

5 Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe on Halloween:
Halloween can be a fun time for you and your family – but frightening to Fido and Fluffy. The sounds of the doorbell and children’s voices plus the sights of costumes and jack-o-lanterns can cause high anxiety in pets. Here are some tips to help them handle the holiday stress:

  1. Ditch the doorbell. No need for the cats to be diving for safety and dogs to be guarding your front door every time a trick-or-treater stops by.
  2. Provide a safe space away from the commotion for your dogs and cats to relax. Include their favorite toys, blanket, an article of your clothing, and some yummy treats to keep them comfortable and content.
  3. Costumes are scary as are all the people coming and going. Consider creating a safe space away from the front door (driveway, front lawn, car trunk) where you can set up a candy station.
  4. Off-limit items for pets:
    – Candy: especially if it contains chocolate or xylitol (a common sugar substitute).
    – Candles and jack-o-lanterns
    – Glow sticks and glow jewelry
  5. For everyone’s safety, keep pets inside and away from any trick-or-treaters. You don’t want Halloween to turn into a nightmare.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

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