fbpx
Pet Tips for Spring

Pet Tips for Spring

Spring has arrived! Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and happy as the weather warms up.

  • Use pet-friendly products for spring cleaning; follow the directions for cleaning and storage.
  • Hide the antifreeze. If you suspect your pet may have come in contact with or ingested a poisonous substance – call the Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435.
  • Clean up the yard. Pick up sticks and acorns that you pet could chew on. These can cause harm to your dog’s mouth and throat. Remove leaf litter where ticks and fleas could hide. Make your yard and garden unattractive to snakes by keeping them tidy.
  • Cats and screens: Be careful to use strong and sturdy screens in your windows and have them fit snugly. Curious cats can pry screens off their hinges and storms can blow screens off their frames.
  • Never leave your pet in a parked car. Travel with pets inside the car (not in the back of a pickup) and in a secure crate or seat belt harness to keep them safe, unable to stick their head out the window, or interfere with your driving.
  • Watch your pet for signs of seasonal allergies. Pets can be allergic to pollen, dust, grasses, and plants. For many pets, this reaction shows up in skin issues. You may notice itching, minor sniffling and sneezing or life-threatening anaphylactic shock from insect bites and stings. If your pet suffers each spring, see the vet to ease their suffering.
  • Flea and tick control. Check your pet for these pesky critters regularly – especially after they have been in tall grass.
  • ID tags will help your pet be returned to you, if they go astray.
  • Xylitol poisoning: there is a significant increase in pets being poisoned by ingesting this artificial sweetener. A tiny amount can be fatal. It can be found in some sugar-free gum, candies, breath mints, baked goods, pudding snacks, cough syrup, children’s chewable or gummy vitamins and supplements, mouthwash, and toothpaste. Xylitol is also showing up in over-the-counter nasal sprays, laxatives, digestive aids, allergy medicines, and prescription human medications, especially those formulated as disintegrating drug tablets (sleep aids, pain relievers, anti-psychotics, etc.) or liquids.
  • Prep for storms. Gather your hurricane kit together, teach your pet to go into a crate or carrier, and have important papers handy. If your dog is frightened of thunderstorms, ask your vet about medications that can ease your dog’s fears.
  • Standing water can cause health concerns (Leptospirosis) so don’t let your pet drink from puddles. Steer clear of communal water bowls.
  • Blue-green algae – keep your dog out of water sources that have been known to be contaminated with this toxin. Always wash your dog after swimming outside. Last August three pets died hours after swimming in a pond in Wilmington, NC.
  • Sign up for alerts from Dog Food Advisor regarding pet food recalls.
  • Take your dog out for a special treat to any of our beautiful parks.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

Get more pro tips to take care of your pets by subscribing to our newsletter and blog.

Tips for Walking a Reactive Dog

Tips for Walking a Reactive Dog

Does your dog pull excessively on the leash and yank you off balance when he sees a squirrel, cat, or dog? 
Does he go berserk when he hears or sees the mail truck?
Does his hyper vigilance at the window turn nuclear when he sees anything moving past your house? 
Is he always in motion seemingly unable to relax?
Is he too noisy (whining, barking, or howling)?

These are some of the common responses presented by reactive dogs.  It’s a challenge to take them for a walk, have visitors, take them to the vet or enroll them in a dog class. 

Misha getting Reactive Dog Training

This is not the dog you imagined when you brought him home.  You may even be an experienced pet owner and find yourself baffled/embarrassed as to what to do next. If your pup’s fearfulness or anxieties are getting in the way of your quality of life – I want to reassure you that it is not your fault and that there is hope.  I know what it’s like to own a reactive dog, the disappointment of being asked to leave dog school, and the frustration of finding a solution.  I set out on a quest to learn about them and how to help them.  What I discovered was game changing!

I found the solutions from world-class trainers who have made it their niche to focus specifically on reactivity.  I applied their wisdom first to Davy, my German Shepherd, and then trialed it with several pet owners who sought my help with their dogs.  I am so encouraged by the results that followed that I am offering a Reactive Dog Training program as my signature service.  From my own experience, I will tell you that I always loved Davy, but now I like him better.  At five-years-old, he is easier to be around.  We have a stronger bond and a better partnership.  I can show you how to obtain this with your dog too!

We will look at your situation, the needs of you and your dog, and the results that you want.  Our progress will include lowering your dog’s arousal and teaching him to relax, identifying and practicing essential skills (recall, walking on a loose lead) that will help you the most, and bringing joy back into your relationship (games, scent work, maybe a trick or two). We will begin in quiet places to build up our foundations before venturing out into more challenging environments.  We will set you and your dog up for success through consistency, practice, and using the right tools. 

Conventional training did not provide the solution to Davy’s reactivity.  In fact, I did not even know where to go or what to do until embarking on a personal quest for the answers.  I am ready to share them with you.  If you find yourself in a similar situation – contact me, Jeanne, the owner of Crockett’s Critter Care for a discovery call. Learn more about our Reactive Dog Training program here.


Happy Pet! Happy Home!

Get more pro tips to take care of your pets by subscribing to our newsletter and blog.

Three Simple Goals for a Successful Dog Walk

Three Simple Goals for a Successful Dog Walk

Even before you picked out your pooch, you were daydreaming about serene strolls around the neighborhood or out in a park. Is that your reality?

  1. It’s enjoyable for you.
  2. It’s enjoyable for your dog.
  3. Both you and your dog feel better at the end of your walk than when you started.
Misha’a morning walk and train

Those three things sound so simple, don’t they? Yet there are so many things that can get in the way of a happy dog walk: a squirrel, a cat, another dog, the mail truck, skateboarders, bicycle riders, birds, airplanes, loud noises, neighbors coming and going, voices, laughter, windy days, thunderstorms, lightning, and a dog that pull’s us down the street with or without the presence of these triggers. Some days the activity we most looked forward to doing when we first got our dog has become one of our most challenging experiences.

The struggle is real for both ends of the leash. Having a stressful walk is horrible. We tend to tighten our grip, pull back on the leash, and let our frustrations get the best of us. Our dogs get all worked up and may pull, lunge, bark, and embarrass us. Subsequently, these responses are just the opposite of what we dreamed walking our dog would be like, look like, and feel like. So how do we fix this?

Our Walk and Train programs are designed to help you understand your dog and take the steps needed to reach the results you want. We offer training programs that will help you and your pet live a happier life. We look forward to helping you both. Our website has more details. Message us or call us to schedule a consultation. In a short time, you and your pooch will be enjoying your new partnership.


For Fear Free professional pet sitting and dog walking, contact Jeanne Crockett, owner of Crockett’s Critter Care.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

Get more pro tips to take care of your pets by subscribing to our newsletter and blog.

Adventure Walks

Adventure Walks

How to Spice Up Your Walking Ritual

Most likely your daily walk is pretty boring for both you and your dog. Here are ways to make it memorable.

Many dog owners view their walk with their dog as a cornerstone of their routine. But it doesn’t have to be just a potty break. A run-of-the-mill dog walk can be turned into an exciting and enjoyable daily adventure by spicing it up with fun, novel activities, and new games.

An adventure walk is a great way to burn off extra energy, solidify obedience skills, soothe nervous dogs, improve your dog’s fitness, and strengthen your bond. Let ho-hum walks be a thing of the past. Different activities result in different benefits and dogs love to learn and try new things.

Training during a walk is not just heelwork and basic commands. It can involve game playing that makes your dog think and respond. Engaging your dog leads to happier vet visits, calmer walks, easier nail trims, better manners, and less reactivity to triggers (cats, other dogs, delivery trucks, or loud noises).

In general, games are an important way to enrich your dog’s life. Besides being fun for you and your dog, they promote:

  • Physical Exercise – including a 3 to 5 minute sessions of play can make a huge difference. Frisbee or playing with a flirt pole (high-energy dogs in good shape) are physically demanding so adding them to your dog’s regular exercise routine is a great way to let off some pent-up energy.
  • Mental Stimulation – games have some basic rules and your dog learns to use his brain to figure those out. A ball needs to be dropped in order for it to be thrown again.
  • Stress Buster – games are a simple way to improve your dog’s mood. They bring you together and can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Social Skills – exposing your dog to new scents, sights, and things is good for them at any age.
  • Decrease Problem Behaviors – engaging your dog in regular play keeps boredom at bay which means they are less likely to entertain themselves with chewing and barking.
  • Bonding – games are a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog. For dogs, playtime can be the highlight of their day and engaging with their owner can make this their favorite pastime.
  • Training – games are a fun way to reinforce some daily training like sit, stay, down without it feeling like a drill.

These are simple ways to bond and train your pet while obliterating boredom for both of you. To make it even easier for you, Crockett’s Critter Care is now offering Adventure Walks.


For Fear Free professional pet sitting and dog walking, contact Jeanne Crockett, owner of Crockett’s Critter Care.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

Get more pro tips to take care of your pets by subscribing to our newsletter and blog.

TRUE TALES: Scott & Chatopotomus

TRUE TALES: Scott & Chatopotomus

Blind dog joyfully joins the pack.

A blind rescue dog brings special challenges but more than enough love and personality to make a perfect match.

What made you decide to adopt a blind/deaf dog? We never really decided. It just happened. We did foster him for close to a year, and only started thinking about adding him to our pack about 9 months in

Where did you find him? A very good friend of ours started her own 501c3 special needs rescue. Chato was one of the many visually and/or hearing-impaired dogs in her group. We met him for the first time at a rescue event.

The blind dog The Adventures of Chatopotomus and Scott
Scott & Chatopotomus

What are the challenges, and how did you deal with them? The challenges of bringing a blind/deaf dog into a home with dogs and cats that can see and hear are very real. A dog that cannot see or hear relies on his other senses. He knew immediately we had other dogs in the house and wanted to try and find them. Three out of our four at the time were okay with an introduction, one was not. It took a very long time to make that introduction. We had a very alpha female in the house, and she was jealous of the attention the new dog was getting. Once we got past the helicopter parent stage, things got much easier for Chato, our other dogs, and for us as well. The biggest challenge was getting past the fact he was born with no vision and ability to hear and wanting to coddle him and protect him. It was a human challenge, not a canine challenge.

How does the dog fit in with other pets? Chato adjusted quite well once he figured out how many other pets were in the house and could identify them by their smell. He took to our Golden Retriever Leo immediately. Chato and Leo are still best buds. We always take Leo with us when we take Chato on an outing. I think it gives Chato a sense of comfort knowing his big brother Leo is there. Chato does well with all his current canine and feline siblings.

What advice would you give to others who may be contemplating a deaf and blind dog? My advice would be to fully understand the commitment you are making to this dog. Understand there will be a period of adjustment for the dog, any other pets and humans in the house. I would suggest any pet parent of a blind/deaf dog take a pet first aid and CPR class. My first aid training has paid off quite well with Chato and his little scratches and occasional run in with another dog’s mouth. Be prepared to give this dog a safe space to claim as his or her own, whether a bed, crate, or another room in the house.

How do you communicate with a dog that is deaf and blind? Training tips? The answer to both questions is patience. Chato responds very well to touch. I have found touching him near his shoulder blades gets his attention. Once I have his attention, I run my hand down his spine to get him in a sitting position. Once he is sitting, I rub him under his chin to reward him and give a treat if we are in training mode. Just like a dog that can see and hear consistency is critical.

What accommodations have you made for his special needs? We have not moved any furniture since he came to us. He knows how to find his way around the house quite well. We feed him in the same place twice a day. We have a few dog beds scattered throughout our house and he knows where each once is, especially after the last potty break before bed. He knows he gets a night-night treat. Who trained who? 

Did you choose him, or did he choose you? I think it was mutual. It was love at first sight for me, and love at first sniff for him.

To see Chato in action, he has his own Facebook page The Adventures of Chatopotomus, @chatopotomus.