Tips and Tricks for Beating the Summer Heat with your furry friends!

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The warm weather has officially arrived! Temperatures are in the 90’s and it’s easy for us humans to park ourselves in front of the AC or take a cold shower, but cooling off isn’t as easy for our pets!

Here are some tips for helping your four legged friends stay cool this summer!

 

  1. Seize the shade!

Your pets can become easily dehydrated. Whether you’re in the backyard or at the park, make sure your pet has plenty of areas where they can get out of the sun and cool down in the shade. Bringing along a portable water dish and a bottle of water are a great and easy way to keep your pup hydrated. If you decide to enjoy one of the outdoor dining experiences that Philadelphia has to offer, opt for a table in the shade so your pup can stay cool and ask for a dish of water.

 

  1. Know the signs

Our dogs can’t sweat like we can. So when the temperature begins to climb, our pups start to pant. Panting is normal in warm weather or when your dog is exercising, but it is important to know the signs to determine if your pup is just cooling off, or in danger. An overheated pet can show different symptoms including excessive panting, rapid heart rate and drooling. In some cases animals can also have diarrhea and vomit. Dogs with flat faces and short snouts are more at risk for heatstroke because they cannot pant as well as other dogs. Let your dog be the judge of the heat. If you take your dog out, they will let you know if their long walk needs to be a bit shorter and is ready to head home. Humidity is also a factor. Even if the temperature may not be at its peak, strong humidity can also make it harder for your pup to cool down.

  1. Stop the parking!

A parked car, even with a window down, can quickly become a hot box of danger for your dog (and humans!) So when you can, take your pup along with you, or if you have someone else in the car, let them stay with the dog outside while you run errands

  1. Avoid the big bang

Animals can get spooked by loud noises just like us. When you head out for 4th of July activities, it’s best to leave your pets at home. Never use fireworks around your animal, they can look a lot like toys or sticks and many contain things that can be harmful for your pet.

  1. Sizzling cement

Just like dog’s feet are sensitive to extreme cold in the winter snow, their paws are also sensitive to the hot pavement. If you can’t leave your hand on the pavement without pulling it away from the heat, chances are your pups paws can’t either. Opt for walking in the shade and on grass or dirt that will be cooler. For dogs with especially sensitive paws, the boots they wear in winter are also made for the summer. They help protect from the cold snow, but can also prevent burns and blisters on your dogs paws.

  1. Get creative

Don’t rely on just the AC on those hot summer days. Try out a DIY peanut butter popsicle, or add chicken or beef brother to water to make some tasty ice cubes. There are also products such as vests and mats to help your dog keep cool.

Trust your pet’s instincts. Just like us humans, they know when they’re just too hot and ill let you know! Enjoy the summer sun with your pet. Whether it’s at the park or pool, or the ocean and a campground.

Be safe and have fun!

 

New Puppy Checklist

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Congratulations! You just got a puppy! Before bringing him home, you probably made sure to stop at the pet supply store to fill your cart with food, toys, beds and maybe even some clothes for your new furry friend. That’s all he’ll need, right?

Well, not quite…

Bringing a puppy (or any pet, for that matter) into your family is a huge commitment and one that should not be taken lightly. There are many aspects of pet ownership that new pet parents tend to overlook, but that are essential to ensure that your new pet remains happy, healthy and safe throughout his life.

If you’ve just welcomed a puppy into your family or are thinking about doing so in the near future, here’s a new puppy checklist with some important things you’ll need to consider:

Microchip and ID: Every pet owner’s nightmare is for their pet to go missing. But it happens every day. Dogs slip out an open door, jump the fence or dart out of your arms and before you know it, you’re hanging “Lost Dog” posters on every surface you can find. You can greatly increase your odds of a quick and successful reunion, should your pet ever go missing, by microchipping him and making sure he is always wearing an ID tag with your contact information.

Do you really need to do both?

Yes! And here’s why: A microchip is a permanent form of identification, and most animal shelters and veterinarians have scanners which can read the information attached to your pet’s microchip, but there are still some that don’t. Also, not every scanner can read every brand of microchip that is in use today. In a case such as that, an ID tag with your information could be your pet’s only ticket home. Also, microchips can sometimes move out of place in an animal’s body, so if they were to be scanned with a microchip scanner, it may not register if the chip has traveled out of place. On the other hand, if your pet was wearing ID when he went missing and somehow got out of his collar, a microchip could get him back to you. For both microchips and physical ID tags, be sure to keep your contact information accurate, making updates, as necessary, when your address, phone number or email address change.

 Health maintenance schedule: Your puppy should visit a veterinarian as soon as you can get him there. At this visit, the veterinarian will examine him and start him on his vaccination schedule. Vaccines are so, so important for our pets and can mean the difference between life and death for them. We recently read a story about a young dog in Texas who contracted rabies from a skunk in his backyard and then inadvertently exposed dozens of other dogs and humans to the deadly disease during a visit to a dog park. Had he been properly vaccinated, he may still be alive today.

As your pet grows, he will require yearly check-ups and re-vaccination, in some cases. Please, please, please don’t skip out on these appointments!

 Emergency plan: Now that you have another member of your family depending on you for their safety, you’ll have to make sure to include your pet in your family’s emergency plan. Emergencies or natural disasters can strike at any time and the time to prepare for them is now, rather than after they happen. Outline a plan which includes how your pet is to be cared for in the case of an emergency and make sure that all members of your family understand it completely.

 Training: Training your puppy is more than just teaching him how to do cute things like sit or give his paw. Proper training strengthens the relationship between you and your dog and helps to establish his place in the household. Training can also help to curb undesirable behaviors before they become more of a problem (i.e.: nipping, chewing, eliminating in the house, etc.).

 Socialization: Puppyhood is the critical point of your puppy’s life — what he learns during this phase determines the dog he will become — and socialization should be a big component of that time. Socialization not only exposes your puppy to other animals, but to other people, situations, objects and experiences to which he is not familiar. Taking the time to properly socialize your puppy now, will make for a more happy, adaptable and easier to manage dog down the road.

 Puppy-proofing: Puppies have a tendency to get into everything and anything! Many people liken having a puppy in the house to having a toddler in the house. The second you take your eye off of them, they’re into something! Take the time to puppy-proof your house. It’ll keep your puppy safe and will save your stuff (and your sanity!).

 Vacation care: Oh no! You’re going away next weekend and don’t have anyone to watch your puppy!

Don’t let that happen to you. When you can’t be there to care for your pet, providing him with the proper care is essential. There are many options out there and we at Philly Pet Care pride ourselves in providing the best pet care services in Philly! Contact us to set up a meet and greet so we can talk about your vacation needs.

› Insurance: There’s no way around it — pets are expensive. Between vaccines, regular vet visits, and unexpected injuries and illnesses (they do happen, unfortunately), keeping your puppy healthy can become quite pricey very quickly. Pet insurance can help you save money on your puppy’s healthcare needs and may be a good option for you and your pet. Head online to do some research on your own or talk to your veterinarian to see what they recommend.

Congratulations on your new addition! We wish you and your puppy many happy years together!

Things to Think About Before Giving Thanks

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Thanksgiving is next week! Eeek! Where has this year gone?! Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays and I don’t think we’re alone on that sentiment. Feasting, family, friends and fun — what’s not to love about it?!

As you are preparing to gather and give thanks, keep your pets in mind, as well. During this time of year, it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but taking a few moments, now, to ensure your pets’ safety and well-being during Thanksgiving, will allow both you and your pets to enjoy the holiday to the fullest.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind:

ID: Be sure your pet is wearing proper identification, whether your pet is traveling with you over the holiday, or if he/she is staying home. With all the comings and goings during this time of year, it’s easy for Fido or Fluffy to slip out the door and even if they’re microchipped, an ID tag will up the chances of a timely reunion if they were to go missing.

Travel: If you’ll be bringing your pets along to friends’ or relatives’ homes for Thanksgiving, make sure your pet is traveling safely. If you’ll be driving, keep your pet confined to a travel crate or use a seatbelt-type restraint. It’s safer for both you and them. If flying or taking a train, be sure to follow all guidelines set forth by the airline or rail line and take a look at this post from the Humane Society of the United States for important information about the risks associated with pet travel.

Table scraps: Of course, most of us want to include our pets in our Thanksgiving feasting, but it’s not the best idea. Certain foods can cause a very painful and potentially serious condition called pancreatitis and some foods are downright toxic to pets. Small amounts of foods like plain veggies or rice are okay to feed as a special holiday snack, but be sure not to overdo it! No one wants upset tummies on Thanksgiving night! Below are two handy charts which give ideas about what foods are and are not okay for your pets to snack on:

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Garbage: Just because you don’t feed it to your pet doesn’t mean he or she won’t try to get it themselves. A trashcan full of bits of Thanksgiving goodness can be irresistible to a dog or cat. Aside from food scraps they shouldn’t be eating, garbage such as tin foil, strings, and packaging can pose dangers to pets who may raid the trashcan in search of a snack. Be sure to keep trashcans and full trash bags secured away from where pets can reach them.

Plants and decorations: Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas season. If you’ll be decorating next weekend, keep in mind that certain plants, including pointsettia, holly and mistletoe can be harmful to your pets. Opt for pet-safe plants, or artificial ones, instead. Also, if your holiday table or decorating will include candles, be sure to keep them clear of curious pets’ reach.

If your pets won’t be taking part in Thanksgiving festivities this year, make sure to enlist the help of a trusted friend or relative to check in on them while you’re gone. Better yet, hire a professional! Our spots are filling up fast, so if you’ll need pet care services from us over the holiday, contact us as soon as possible to see if we can accommodate you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Pet Costumes

halloween dog

Halloween is just a few days away… Have you picked out your costume yet? How about for your kids? And don’t forget the pets! Whether you’re planning on bringing your pooch along for Trick-or-Treating, entering him in a costume contest, or just want to celebrate at home on Halloween night, it’s easy and fun to include your pet in the festivities.

If you need a costume for your four-legged pal, but are having a hard time coming up with ideas, check out these tips to help you decide on the perfect one!

Stick with a theme

If your kids are being superheroes, let the dog be one, too! Everyone knows a superhero needs a super-dog sidekick! Just about every theme you could imagine can include a canine member or two.

Play up a unique trait

Maybe your dog has a ton of brown, shaggy fur. He’d make an awesome Ewok. Or, maybe she has only one eye. A perfect pirate. Maybe he’s white and a little pudgy. Turn him into a marshmallow! Play up what’s already there.

Give DIY a try

If the thought of making a costume for your dog makes you shudder, don’t let it. It’s not as hard as you may think. Check out some DIY tutorials for an inexpensive option. DIYing is the way to go for last-minute costumes.

Throw in some wit

Think outside the box a little for a humorous twist. Poop factory, anyone? Or, maybe you can dress up your dog’s back end, instead. Heck, he doesn’t even need a costume at all! Tap into that creative side for a one-of-a-kind costume.

Keep it simple

If you’re stuck for ideas, stop thinking so hard. Raid the kids’ dress-up box or even your own closet for inspiration. Put a cowboy hat on your pooch and tie a bandana around his neck or wrap a feather boa around her and throw on a strand of faux pearls. Voila —  instant cowboy or glam girl!

Hit the internet

If all else fails, hit the internet for inspiration! Type  “dog costume ideas” into a search engine and get lost in the results. You’re bound to find something that catches your eye! Here are some of the coolest ideas we found:

Play it safe

Whatever costume you decide on for your dog, please remember to keep their safety your number one priority! Costumes should not obstruct their sight or ability to walk, eat and drink normally. Be sure to keep small parts or anything they could chew off away from their mouths and remember, no candy for Fido!!!

Happy Halloween, everyone!!

 

 

Autumn Pet Safety

pup in leaves

Ah, autumn! This time of the year brings beautiful, changing leaves, cool, crisp weather, ghouls and goblins, pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns… and a whole host of safety concerns for your pets. As you enjoy this beautiful and festive season, keep your pets happy and safe with these important tips and reminders.

Antifreeze: During these cooler months, many car owners fill up on antifreeze, which is highly toxic to pets. The sweet aroma of this poison is irresistibly attractive to pets and it only takes a very small amount to have fatal consequences. Be sure that antifreeze containers are tightly sealed are stored far from your pet’s reach. If you spill any antifreeze, clean it up immediately and completely and always have an animal poison control number stored in your phone and displayed somewhere in your home at all times, as well, just in case.

Mushrooms: Fall and spring are the heights of mushroom season and while most species of fungi are harmless to curious pets who may try to sneak a bite, some are highly toxic and even fatal. Remove mushrooms from your yard and be sure to closely monitor Fido on walks to make sure he doesn’t ingest any mushrooms. Call animal poison control immediately if you think your pet may have eaten a mushroom.

Rodenticides: Rodenticides present another highly toxic threat to pets, especially during this time of year. As rodents move into homes to find warmth during cold months, skip the rodenticides for a pet-friendly alternative or consider adopting a cat or two — they make great companions and serve as excellent rodent-control!

Decorations: While you’re busy turning your home into a fantastic fall wonderland or a spooky haunted house, always keep your pets and their safety in mind. Keep objects that they could chew on or that could pose a choking hazard far from their reach. Jack-o-Lanterns should be kept away from curious pets who may be inclined to investigate further. If your decorating plans include bringing plants into your home, remember that many varieties of plants are toxic to pets.

Parties & Gatherings: During parties and get-togethers this season (and in every season!), it’s perfectly okay to let your pets join in the fun, just make sure to take a few extra measures to keep them safe. Ensure that they’re wearing ID at all times and keep doors, gates, and any other means of escape closed at all times. Keep food and decorations out of their way and be sure to relay your safety concerns to all of your guests, as well.

Halloween night: If you’re hosting a party, make sure to follow the guidelines above, but with the addition of Trick-or-Treating thrown into the mix, be sure to keep your pets on a leash, crated or confined to a separate room while you are loading up the kids’ treat bags to keep Fido from getting too spooked or excited and making a run for it out the door. Also, be sure to keep any candy that you receive out of his reach, especially chocolate and gum!

Halloween costumes: If you’re planning on dressing up your pet, make sure to keep their safety just as important as the wow factor. Be sure that costumes fit properly and aren’t too tight on them or inhibit their ability to walk or move properly. Keep costume components away from their mouths and eyes and make sure they’re supervised at all times while wearing their costume. Immediately remove the costume if they begin to chew at its parts or if they seem overly stressed or bothered because of it.

Enjoy this wonderful time of year, everyone, and keep those pets safe!

Keeping Your Pets Safe on the 4th

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The 4th of July means barbecues, picnics, parades, fireworks and celebration. But it’s not always so fun for Fido. From July 4-6, animal shelters nationwide, see a 30% increase in pet intake rates — a large number of those pets having been spooked by fireworks and escaped from their owners. Don’t let your pet become a statistic this holiday weekend. Here are some tips to keep them safe:

  • If you are hosting a party at your home, be sure all possible escape routes from your house and yard are secured. This means windows, too.
  • Don’t walk your dog during fireworks or parades. They could become frightened and get away from you.
  • If you’re planning on going out, leave your pets at home, if you can. This is not the safest holiday for them to celebrate with you.
  • Keep a tv or radio on while fireworks are going off to help drown out the noise.
  • Try a Thundershirt to help calm your pet or talk to your veterinarian about other aides to help ease your pet’s anxieties.
  • Make sure your pets are wearing ID and if they’re microchipped, make sure your contact information is up to date.
  • Be sure to have recent, clear photos of your pet stored on your computer or phone.

Although the forecast for this Independence Day is still looking a bit iffy and we may be getting an unwelcomed visit from Tropical Storm Arthur, it’s still a good idea to take precautions with your pets on this holiday. Even a loud clap of thunder is enough to startle some dogs and send them running for cover.

Fireworks and thunderstorms aren’t the only dangers for pets during this time of the year, though.While enjoying your holiday festivities this weekend, keep these precautions in mind, as well:

  • Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets.
  • Don’t apply sunscreens or bug repellents to your pets unless they are specifically labeled for use on pets.
  • Always keep lighter fluid, matches, citronella candles and oils out of your pet’s reach.
  • Don’t feed your dogs table scraps, especially meat bones or these harmful foods, and keep trash stored in a place they can’t reach it.
  • Don’t let your pets play with glow sticks or glow jewelry.
  • Don’t use firecrackers or sparklers around pets.
  • Make sure your pets have access to fresh, clean water at all times and learn the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

We wish you and your furry friends a very happy and safe 4th of July!!

 

Dog Walking Dos and Don’ts

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Walking a dog is easy peasy, right? Not always, and it’s not as simple of a task as people seem to think.

While dog-walking is our specialty and we love to help clients out with their dog-walking needs, we certainly encourage you to walk your own dog as much as possible, if you are able. There are so many benefits to both you and your dog, plus, a little exercise and fresh air is always a good thing! But, to keep both you and your furry companion safe and happy while out on your walks, there are a few definite “dos” and “don’ts” that we’ve learned over the past few years and we’d like to share them with you:

DO walk your dog as often as you can. It’s so beneficial to his/her health and serves as wonderful bonding time between the two of you.

DO always keep an ID tag on your pet at all times while outside.

DO let your dog be a dog on walks. This doesn’t mean they should have full control of their walk, but they should be given the chance to sniff, stretch, roll in the grass and say hello to other dogs (with the permission of the other dogs’ owners, first) if they’d like.

DO change up your walking route often. Like us, dogs can get bored seeing the same sights each day. Change up their surroundings once in a while to keep things fresh and exciting for them.

DO check your pet over before and after their walk. Before heading out, be sure that your dog is looking and acting normally. After walking, check them over again and also check the paws and fur for foreign debris that could cause pain or injury. Don’t forget to check for ticks, as well.

DO pay attention to the weather. If it’s excessively hot or cold or if there are thunderstorms in the forecast, maybe it’s best to forego Fido’s walk for the day. Try a different time of day or hold off until another day. It’s better to be safe rather than sorry in extreme weather.

DO pick up after your dog. Always!

DO use proper equipment. This means a sturdy leash and a properly-fitted collar or harness.

DO pay attention to your surroundings. Always be on the lookout for potential hazards to you and/or your dogs.

DO have emergency numbers saved in your phone and always have a first-aid kit in an accessible location. You never know when an emergency may happen.

DON’T walk your dog on hot pavement or cement. Their foot pads are sensitive to temperature and can burn on hot surfaces. Wait until a cooler time of day to head out for your walk or invest in some booties to protect your pal’s feet. Remember, icy surfaces can be just as harmful to your dog’s feet.

DON’T approach strange dogs without permission of the other dog’s owner. Not all dogs are mannerly or friendly with unfamiliar dogs and skirmishes can be easily avoided by allowing pets to have their space when they need it.

DON’T let your dog off his/her leash. While outside, dogs should be leashed at all times to avoid potential problems or injuries to themselves, other dogs or humans. The only exception to this rule should be in an enclosed dog park where off-leash play is welcomed. Even then, pets should be supervised at all times.

DON’T forget to hydrate — both yourself and your pet!

So there you have ’em — some tricks of the trade, if you will, to make your dog-walking experiences a success!

Do you regularly walk your dog? What points would you add to this list?

Creating A Pet First-Aid Kit

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Spring is finally (finally!!) here! We’re not sure about you, but we’re definitely ready to trade in our snow boots and heavy coats for short sleeves, sunglasses and sunshine!

Naturally, nicer weather drives people and their pets to spend more time outside. For me and my dogs, warm weather means trips to the dog park and the beach, long walks and endless hours of playtime outside with canine pals. As you make your spring and summertime plans and get ready to enjoy more time in the great outdoors, it’s a smart idea to think about what you’d do in case of an emergency. What if your dog fell while playing and fractured a leg? Or was cut on rusty barbed-wire? Do you know what to do if your cat got into some rat poison? An emergency can happen at anytime, anywhere, whether you’re in your own home or out on a fun adventure with your pet. We hope that you’ll never find yourself in an emergency situation with your pet, but if one should occur, your preparedness could be the key to your pet’s successful recovery.

Part of your emergency preparedness should include creating a pet first-aid kit with everything you may need should you ever encounter an emergency situation with your (or another) pet.

When putting together a first-aid kit for your pets, you can make it as large or small as you see fit, but below is a list of the basic items that you may want to include:

  • The number for the animal poison control hotline and other relevant numbers (your veterinarian, local emergency vet hospitals, etc.)
  • Sterile pads/bandages
  • Gauze rolls
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • An instant ice pack
  • Tweezers
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Medical tape
  • Scissors
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sterile saline eye wash
  • Styptic powder
  • Benadryl
  • A few doses of any critical medications your pet may require
  • Sugar tablets
  • Bottled water and a bowl

Other helpful items you may want to include are:

  • Restraints (collar, leash, muzzle, etc.)
  • A pet carrier
  • Towels and blankets
  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • An animal first-aid book

Of course, there are commercially-packaged pet first aid kits available for purchase via many retailers, but, as you can see, it’s quite simple and cost-efficient to put together your own, and especially so if you plan on making multiple kits. It’s important to keep your first-aid kit in a spot where it’s easily accessible. And, if you’re traveling, don’t forget to bring your kit along with you! Your kit should be kept in a sturdy, easy to carry bag or box and be sure to periodically check medications and solutions for expiration dates. Clearly label your kit as such and make sure that all family members know where it is located and what should be inside. Also, if you’ve never taken a pet first-aid class, it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the basics. In an emergency, a first-aid kit is of no use if you don’t know how to use it.

Again, we hope that you’ll never, ever need to reach your hands inside a pet first-aid kit, but it’s always a smart idea to be prepared, just in case!

We wish you and your pets a wonderful and safe spring and summer!!