One thing I love about summertime – the days are longer. That means I can take my dogs out for an early morning and late evening walk when the temperatures may be a little cooler and the daylight is stretched to the limit. It’s good for them and for me. There are more hours to explore new places. I know people who take their dogs to the beach or the river on a nice day.
I have found a new place close by to explore. It’s the Martin Marietta Park in New Bern. It’s still being developed and, sometimes, Davy and I have the park all to ourselves. Progress is being made with the boat ramp, restrooms and more. When this park is complete, it will have about 850 acres with activities for adults, children, and pets with forest, lake and river views. For now, even in the early phase of its development, it is pet-approved by Davy.
There is a 3.2 mile park loop that allows dogs on leash. Davy loves the exercise and the opportunities to sniff and smell. I love a good outing and the chance to see birds that I don’t get in my backyard. I can’t wait to see the birding activity that the fall migration will bring.
Short Leash = Safe Dog
When we are walking in the neighborhood, we spot a lot of squirrels, bunny rabbits, baby birds, and an occasional possum, or deer. I keep Davy’s leash short so he doesn’t have a snake encounter (they are out now too); I want to see exactly what is in front of his nose. My neighbor’s dog was frolicking in the park when she heard a yelp followed by her dog limping toward her. It turned out to be from a snake bite. If you have ever seen a dog swollen and whining in pain from a snake bite, you will think twice about letting your pup get too far ahead of you on the trails. A vet visit, pain meds, antibiotics, and time allowed her pup to fully recover.
On the Road…
Car rides are fun – now that they don’t always end up in the vet parking lot. Davy is happy to jump into his crate in the back of the SUV. An interesting side note: He knows by the direction I turn the car where he is likely to end up. When I drive him to school, he faces the back window; when we go to the park, he faces the front window. I can tell that he is happier going to the park!
Cats enjoy the summer too. They gravitate to their perch to watch the birds come to the feeder. Many of my clients have their feeders lined up with their cat trees by a window so the cats can get a bird’s eye view. Cats also love to find a sunny spot to snooze and summer provides them with comfy rays of sunshine almost every day. Kitties love to climb on the screen by the open window to get as close as they can to the flowers, animals, and scents on the other side.
Bird’s Eye View
I have a few clients who place their bird’s cage on the porch or patio on nice days so their birds can enjoy the scenery and the sun. I imagine that it feels good to a parrot, cockatiel, parakeet, and conure to have some wind under their wings and to hear our yard birds up close.
Your caged pets like bunnies, hamsters, gerbils, lizards, and your indoor cats are best left inside to stay out of harm’s way. They can have a fully enriched indoor space with toys, perches, hiding places, boxes and games where they can play in a safe and healthy environment.
Summer affords us a lot of extra daylight and nice warm temperatures to enjoy with our pets both inside and outside.
Here are the essential things that you can do to keep your pet safe during the heat of the summer. 1. Learn the early signs of heat exhaustion:
Excessive or thick drool
Reddened tongue, inside ears
Red or pale gums
Glassy and/or red eyes
Anxiousness or restlessness
Reluctance or refusal to go on
2. Shorter, slow outings at cooler times of the day are safer! Exercise in small doses in the early morning or as the sun sets.
3. Test the surface of the asphalt for three seconds: It’s too hot to touch with your hand, it’s too hot for paws.
4. Provide room temperature water for your dog to drink
Bring it with you when you go outdoors
Give your dog plenty of chances to quench his thirst
Be sure the water bowl is always fresh and full at home, too
6. Minimize sun exposure Apply sunscreen made for dogs if needed.
7. High humidity = Low Activity
Find some shade, take a seat, and relax
High humidity makes it harder to keep cool
We believe that dogs need to get their paws on the ground for an adventure outside of the house. When you are unable to walk your pet yourself, our trained team of professionals is ready to step in and stroll. Let us help keep your pets happier and healthier.
A family pet is lost every 2 seconds in North America
I am that person who hangs up signs in my neighborhood for lost and found pets, posts photos on NextDoor of strange dogs that I see wandering around, and share posts on my Facebook page for local pets whose owners are looking for them.
I have joined in pet search parties, have helped owners get kitties in distress down from high perches in trees, and have placed white erase boards with other people’s missing pet information on my front lawn. July has the distinction of having the largest number of pets go missing because of the Independence Day celebrations.
Fireworks are very scary for pets. Some tremble in fear even when they are safe in the house, some escape from their yard in terror, and some bolt right out the front door into the thick of it. All have been petrified. Some are picked up by animal control. Some come home injured. Unfortunately, some never come home. My research reveals that a family pet is lost every 2 seconds in North America, 10 million pets are lost every year, 1 out of 3 pets will be lost in their lifetime and not just due to fireworks.
You must be proactive to keep your furry friends safe at home. Start by microchipping. In case you get separated from your pet, the chip will connect them back to you. Be sure to pet-proof your house and property so that they don’t wander without you. That means walking your yard to look for holes that have been dug under fences or gaps in the fence that your critter can scoot through. Also be sure the gate latches and closes securely.
Inside the house, check doors, screens, and windows to ensure that they don’t provide an accidental escape route. Cats can be very dexterous about pulling at screens to open them up just enough to slip outside. Windows are better closed so curious cats aren’t given the chance to try out their hunting skills.
USE A LEASH
Crockett’s Critter Care team members always check the fit of the collar or to ensure the pet can’t slip out or back out of it. As a rule, extension leashes are not used as they don’t allow for proper control of the pet and they don’t protect them from sniffing out hidden dangers like snakes. If a dog pulls or lunges after squirrels, birds, rabbits, or other perceived prey, we suggest using two leashes, just to be safe.
Remove your dog’s collar before they are placed in the crate. It is a standard practice in the veterinarian’s office as a dog can be injured or worse if their collar is caught and they struggled to get free. When your pet is crated, secure all the latches so they can’t escape.
Secure your pet while riding in the car, just as you would any other passenger. Crating your pet allows them their own space while traveling and provides assurance if you are in an accident that they won’t be ejected or run off in fright.
Following these simple tips, staying aware of your pet, and being proactive is the best way to keep your pet safely with you and not a statistic or featured on a lost pet poster. If you need other suggestions for pet safety whether they are furry, feathered, or finned give me a call or send me an email. I am ready to help!
We expect that a Halloween mask can set off a pet’s defense mechanism. Dogs may growl and cats may hiss at the site of something they perceive as scary. Imagine how we must look to them now that our new protocol is to wear a face mask?
Our pets may get anxious when they can’t see our full face whether we are with them daily or just showing up on occasion. They don’t know if, behind the mask is a smile or a scowl. They hear us speak, but they don’t see our mouths move.
Peek-a-Boo without the BOO!
Make it easier for your pets, especially your canine companion, by getting them accustomed to seeing a mask on their household members. To get started at home, go slow and make sure your dog is relaxed.
First cover your mouth and nose with your hand and give your pet a treat. Repeat this several times until they expect the treat and look forward to the training exercise. Your pet is creating a good association with having your face covered and getting a treat. Now try it with your mask of choice and repeat the exercise (and reward) while wearing the covering for longer intervals.
Get Everyone Involved
Walk around your house, wearing a mask while talking to your pet and offering treats. Also have the other members of your household do the same. This will help your pet get used to seeing a mask on people in general. Once your pet is comfortable in the house, you are ready to do the exercise outside.
When someone walks by with a mask give your dog a treat. The treat is now a reward for learning how to take masks in stride. The key to success is keeping your pet undisturbed at each phase of learning. If your pet starts to get anxious – go back to the last step where it was calm. There is no hurry. Masks are going to be around for a while.
After this training, your pet should be a little more comfortable to the visit the veterinarian, unconcerned about walking past other people wearing masks, and happy to see their favorite pet sitter and dog walker.
Let me know how the training goes or contact me if you have any questions about keeping your pets happy and relaxed as we start to venture out into our new world.
My dogs, Davy and Ginger, and I have been spending a lot of time together since mid-March when COVID-19 rocked our world. I’ve been free to walk them more often and hang out with them. They have been great companions throughout and are practicing their obedience training and learning some fun new tricks while I catch up on a lot of reading.
I’ve also noticed some subtle differences in their behavior. Davy, my German Shepherd is more content to stay in the yard without me. Ginger, my Walker Hound, is more nervous on her walks because of all the extra people enjoying the outside. To lessen her stress, our walks have been shortened.
Nice to see you, now go away.
I did an informal survey of my friends with pets to see how their households are holding up. Many reported that their pets are confused about the humans being home so much. One cat servant noted their pet gives them a look that says, “Don’t you have someplace to be?” Other fur babies are clingy, and since pets are tuned in to our emotions, that could be because they are picking up our distress along with the change of routine.
Another pet owner reported, “My dogs DEMAND a long walk every day now. They’ve had more walks in the last 7 weeks than they have had their whole lives. My cats can’t get enough of us. I am grateful for this time with all of them.”
What do you mean you’re leaving?
In every case the pets and their humans have had to make adjustments from the dogs becoming personal trainers to cats who yowl when left alone in a room. And there will be readjustments when we’re allowed to go back to business as almost normal. This is especially problematic if your dog is a puppy, a young dog, or one that you recently adopted. It will be easier if you start preparing your pets now instead of letting them work it out on their own.
If your pets are already having separation anxiety just when you step out to get the mail, it is time to start retraining them to have confidence that you will return. Other forms of misbehavior like busting through the baby gates or taking over your bed and furniture need to be addressed before they get to be bigger problems with tougher solutions.
Go back to their basic training, change up your routine, and start to desensitize your pets to separation. If you find this retraining to be challenging, give me a call 252-635-2655 or drop me an email and I might be able to suggest some options for you. After all, we are all in this together!
The Covid-19 pandemic is prompting people to think about alternative care for their pets should they become incapacitated. I’ve had several worried callers reach out to me asking if I can care for their pets if they become ill. They are smart to be putting a plan in place. Here are the tips I have offered my friends and clients:
Update Your Pet’s Information
Be sure you have your pet’s current vaccine information, feeding instructions, medical history, and the address and phone number of your emergency contacts and veterinarian. Remember, boarding facilities require your pets to have up to date vaccines before they will allow them in day or overnight programs.
You should have a guardianship form naming a specific person who has agreed to care for your pet if you are no longer able to do so. The form should list the friend, neighbor, relative, or a professional caregiver who can take responsibility for your pet on a temporary basis as well as the long term plan for your pet’s care. You candownload the guardianship form here and then fill it out for each of your pets. Also, consider the financial burden that comes with pet care and make arrangements to support your pet’s temporary living arrangement.
Prepare a Comfort Kit
Have your pet’s comfort kit ready before you need it. The kit includes food, medications and prescriptions with instructions, vet’s contact information, favorite toys, treats, a blanket and bedding, and a leash for your dog. Be sure that your pet has their proper ID tags on their collar or harness and microchip information. Include a current photo of your pet for their caregivers in the event they get separated. If you have a carrier for transport, set it out where it can be easily located.
Long Term Planning
Provide instructions for pets that are ill or elderly. Consider leaving your credit card number on file with your local vet in case your pet has to see the doctor or be hospitalized. And also, be clear about your wishes should your pet become terminally ill or has no quality of life.
If you are interested in permanently placing your pet, it is important to present a full picture of their personality and habits. A rambunctious dog would be a better match with an outdoorsy type rather than a bookworm who would much prefer a lap cat for company.
By preparing now, you’ll be ready for the unexpected. If you have other pet care concerns, please contact me and I will help if I am able.