exotic pets |

What Makes Your Pet Happy

Are there tell-tail signs that indicate to you your pet
is happy? Why, yes, there are!

dhjune2016_197-01

A Happy Dog…

  • has a “sparkle” or “glow” about him. He’s interested in his surroundings and enjoys interaction with people and other animals.
  • makes eye contact and is interested in his humans’ activities. He often joins in on the fun.
  • is interested in eating his food.
  • has a shiny coat, bright eyes, pink gums and a pink tongue (except for Shar Peis, Chow Chows, or other black tongued breeds, of course!)
  • wags his tail when in verbal or physical contact with humans.
  • makes pleasure noises when interacting with humans and other animals (noises that his humans know as happy noises).
  • sleeps well at night with little or no disturbance.
  • rolls around in obvious pleasure.
  • appears to spontaneously seek pleasure, like running and/or swimming in the surf when at the beach.
  • is relaxed around other dogs and has good inter-canine relationships.

 

 dhjune2016_197-02

 

 

 

 

 

A Happy Cat…

  • is confident, interacts with her humans, and often initiates contact.
  • “talks” to her humans (the classic sound of feline happiness is the “purrrrrr,” of course).
  • has bright eyes, a good coat, pink gums and tongue, and grooms herself several times per day.
  • rolls on her back, jumps and plays.
  • wanders around her house and/or outdoors seeking entertainment, such as swatting at bugs, chasing butterflies, calling birds, using her scratching post, and playing hide and seek.

You’ll likely notice the list for a happy cat is noticeably shorter than the list for a happy dog, but, as most cat lovers know, cats aren’t quite as outgoing as dogs and are prone to standoffish personalities.

So how does your pet rank on the happiness meter? Is Tigger a typical happy cat, or do you feel there may be cause to worry? Whether you are the pet parent of a dog or a cat, if you notice any concerning changes in your pet’s behavior, speak to your vet. After all, while our pets can display obvious signs of happiness like the ones above, they can’t verbally tell us when something is wrong, and are quite skilled at masking pain and discomfort.

#1 Cat Sitter Pro Tips: How to make friends with new cats

RSZ6VAoOfsUAxXS273Nd2mSXmN178CJis6PKnCpX170If there’s one thing all cat lovers know, it’s this: If there was an Olympic Gold medal for cold shouldering, cats would be tops every time, no contest.

Some cats have a wicked sense of humor.  They’ll listen to you tell people, “Oh don’t worry about coming around, my Smushy is a super social kitty!”  “She’s just heaven with visitors!” And then sit with their back to the room, every furry inch expressing disdain.

Others are fine with friends but terrified of new people. Those kitties will act as if the sitter is a serial killer and spend the entire visit quivering under the sofa.

Pro cat sitters don’t worry too much about these situations because there are ways to make friends.

  1. First, adopt the slow and soft approach.  We always walk slowly and speak gently. That way the cat knows we’re not going to do something crazy all of a sudden.
  2. Second, we get on their level. Cats approached from above feel threatened, so the best thing is to lie on the floor.  It also means you can have meaningful eye contact if the pet is under the bed or sofa.
  3. Third, offer a treat and be available for stroking.  If it’s near dinner time, and you happen to be holding out a particularly favorite treat, a shy kitty may be persuaded to come out just for a snack – and stay for some whisker rubbing.

Mostly though, we have lots of time. Cats are sensibly cautious and we respect that. So if the first visit doesn’t quite work out, that’s okay.  We can work up to being friends.

After all, a cat’s friendship is a treasure worth waiting for!

If you would like more articles like this be sure to share them with your friends and family.  Let us know if this sounds like your kitty.

Do You Have A Safe Place To Take Your Pets In A Disaster? 5 Tips for Readiness

In a disaster, are you ready_ #petsThe sirens go off, warning you that danger is eminent. In a perfect world, you gather your family around you and make an orderly exit out of your home and into your waiting vehicle, taking, of course, all the necessary supplies, food, and important paper documents that you need. But this isn’t a perfect world. And when disaster strikes, it comes fast and sometimes without warning. Are you ready to take care of yourself, your family, and your pets?

    5 Readiness Tips

  1. Find Pet-Friendly hotels along the evacuation route.
  2. Keep This List in Your Ready Kit – Names, Address, Phone Numbers.
  3. Call Ahead For Reservations – Trust Me Better To Book Days and not use them to be told you have to move on.
  4. Arrange Care with Family, Friends, Your Pet Sitter, Boarding Kennels, Veterinary Clinics.
  5. Be Sure Your Pet Is Current On Their Vaccinations.

Pets are often the most variable factors in an emergency situation. When their world is suddenly thrown into chaos, they have no way of understanding what is going on. You cannot explain to them that, although everything is in commotion, there is no real danger. Or, if there is danger, you cannot expect them to follow your directions that would remove them from danger. One of the most basic instincts in animals in the face of danger is to flee and seek safety in hiding. This instinct can complicate things quite a bit if you are trying to quickly evacuate your home. There are some things that you can do to ameliorate this situation, and there are many more things you can do to control or eliminate all the other chaos that comes with sudden disasters. If you have the details squared away, you will be able to better focus on quickly locating your pets and removing them from danger, rather than worrying about other factors at the expense of your pet’s safety.
Although you cannot sit down and talk your pet through your family’s emergency plan, you can prepare them for a situation if it arises. First, select a safe room for your pet or pets. Keep back up stocks of food and litter in this room. It should also have access to running water or a large enough supply of water. Help your pet get comfortable with spending time in this room. You can allow them to play there, leave treats there from time to time, and shut them in for short periods of time to help them get used to it. Pay attention to your pet’s favorite hiding places. If you can align a hiding place with your safe room, half your work will already be done since your pet will naturally retreat to that spot if they sense danger. A safe room is to be used in cases where a disaster is coming that is not serious enough to evacuate for, such as a less-serious weather event that you intend to ride out. Other low-profile events could include things like the 4th of July if your pet is particularly disturbed by fireworks going off in your neighborhood. It could also be an influx of visitors in your home, such as for a party. Safe rooms also work well if your pet naturally goes there when they sense danger. This will allow you to locate them quickly in case you need to leave.
If it becomes necessary to leave your home, always take your pets with you. In disaster situations, it is impossible to predict how long it will be before the danger passes. You don’t want to find yourself barred from re-entering your home or neighborhood and unable to access pets that were left behind. In order to better ensure that you’ll be able to leave with your pets, prepare or buy proper pet carriers that can keep your pet secure. Cat owners will know that a cat that doesn’t want to stay in a cardboard box usually won’t stay in that cardboard box. Pets can be pretty good escape artists when fueled by uncertainty and worry. Don’t allow your pets a chance to bolt. Get them good carriers. The next step is to acclimate them to their carriers. Try to use the carrier for positive experiences so they don’t bolt the moment it appears. Some pet owners leave the carriers out all the time as an extra bed or resting place. This is a great way to provide your pet a piece of home should the need to leave arrive.
When your pet is used to their carrier, run them through a practice drill. This is a great thing for any family to do. Make assignments for who will take what. Which family member will be in charge of securing which pet? Pretend that this will be a three-day evacuation. Do you have enough food, litter, and supplies for your pet? If not, make a supplies bag specifically for your pet. You should also include any paperwork that may be needed to show your pet’s vaccinations and your ownership, if necessary. When you have the carrier, supplies, and paperwork in order and ready to go, you can focus on the most important thing—your pet—when an emergency arises.

As an Adult or Child have you built your own bird feeder?

Bird CanvaWhen I first moved to Georgia, I was immediately delighted by the number and variety of birds living in our area. Where I grew up, we usually saw robins and magpies but not much else. I was so excited the first time I saw a cardinal. Eager to lure more birds into view, I began setting out bird feed and it led to quite the show of birds stopping by our back porch.

I quickly learned, however, that there are some trial and error that goes into feeding birds. A few of my homemade bird feeders quickly went missing, thanks to the squirrels, while other feeders remained virtually untouched by birds and squirrels alike. If you are thinking about setting up your own bird feeder, here are a few good things to know and keep in mind:

Location
Locate the feeder in a sheltered area, away from the wind. There should be trees or bushes nearby where birds can land and survey the area to determine if they feel comfortable there. The area around the feeder should be open enough for the birds to feel that they have space to survey the area and keep an eye out for attackers.

Placement
Different placements of feeders will attract different kinds of birds. A feeder that is located on or near to the ground will attract birds that are accustomed to foraging on the ground. A fixed feeder on a pole or tree with plenty of perching places will attract a different group of birds. Finally, a free-hanging feeder or one without perches will attract only those birds that are able to cling to it while they eat.

In my experience, I had some free hanging cakes of bird seed that I left out on the tree. They stayed untouched for a week. When I took them down and placed them out on our porch banister, however, the birds were suddenly very interested. If your seed doesn’t seem to be working, try moving it around first in different locations. Sometimes birds just need a more convenient place to land and feast.

In the end, you’ll want to strike the balance between finding a place where the birds are comfortable and having the feeder where you will be most likely to see it, since half the fun is being able to see what feathered visitors you get in your yard.

Seed
In addition to placement, the type of birds that you attract will be determined largely by what kind of seed you provide. Certain species will favor certain seeds. Most seed packaging will identify the types of birds it is intended to attract. Beware of some types of seed that include filler seed, meaning extra seeds that the birds are not likely to eat. Watch for which types of seeds the birds prefer and pay attention to what seed end up untouched on the ground.

As a side note, the type of bird feed that you use will sometimes determine what kind of feeder you buy. Suet is a common variety of bird feed. It comes in bricks or tablets and has its own kind of holders. Do some research to decide if this is the type of food you would like to provide for the birds in your yard.

Consistency
A big part of successful bird feeding is being able to make birds feel welcome in your environment and enticing them to return. Once you have set out birdseed, your feathered neighbors will take note, but only as long as there is food available. Once the food it was gone, they will have not reason to linger in your area and will instead seek elsewhere for food. If you have “regulars,” keep them coming back with the same seed and consistent availability. If you want to make changes to the seed you put out, do so over a gradual period of time. If you are transitioning to a winter diet, this is also a good idea to keep in mind. If you will be out of town, try to find someone who will be willing to refill the bird seed. If not, taper the amounts off, especially during the winter, so the birds will have time to adjust to finding their food elsewhere.

Involvement
A final step you can take is to interest and involve your neighbors in setting out birdseed. This is especially helpful if you take frequent or long trips because it keeps your regular bird visitors close and content and ready to return once you begin setting out seed again.

Did you know we even take care of birds?  All kinds of birds from feeding outdoor birds to feeding a Macaw.  If you would like to learn more call us at 770-695-3096.  We would love to answer any questions you may have about pet sitting, or dog walking. What we can’t help you with regarding pets we will sure try to find out.

Euthanasia in America With Cats and Dogs

Dog CollarWhen you look at your pet you can probably never imagine killing him for being alive. However, in the United States we have a situation where cats and dogs are overrunning our streets and many times the only solution for the Animal Control is to euthanize the animals. This is very unfortunate for many reasons.

 

 
-The United States is one of the few countries in the world where the number of animals is a problem.

-Many animals are homeless or starving because there is no one to look after them.

-The United States is one of the few countries without regulation for spaying and neutering.

-Euthanasia for existence is not fair to the animal, they are not to blame.

 

 
There is now a growing awareness around what the rest of the world is doing to keep this problem in check and it is something that we need to think about here in the United States. Did you know that every year in the United States over 3-4 million dogs and 3-4 million cats are killed in shelters every year. Of the total number of pets which are out there only around 30% are adopted.

 

In some cities in the US, the problem has gotten so out of control that there have been authorizations from some police departments to kill strays or adopt on encountering an animal. Imagine that, these pets are not even being given the ability to even be adopted before they are terminated. It is a situation which is completely ridiculous and also controllable. For that reason let’s take a view at what is happening here and in other parts of the world to change this trend.

 

Social media and Facebook in particular have given new tools to allow for the saving of animals. This means that a new number of animals have been able to have their lives saved because people have been advertising their needs on social media. Many animals are now getting saved because they are being rescued from shelters which are getting ready to end their lives by caring people who are able to get the word out in enough time that they are getting adopted. This is translating to huge wins for all of these animals who would otherwise not be saved from death.

 

These pages which are popping up all over the internet have both a national and local reach and are informing people who are thinking about adopting animals and are encouraging them to act fast and are saving many lives. Many people however, are still avoiding adopting animals because of the red tape which is sometimes involved in the process. Unfortunately it is required that there are often many background checks to be able to have an animal and that means that many people are passing on the opportunity altogether.

 

In other parts of the world however, the government makes it their business to make sure that all of the animals which are out there are being spayed and neutered, that means that if you want to be a breeder you have to have permission. In Europe now that these laws have been implemented, there is no more euthanasia, there are also no places where animals have to be kept. The law was able to correct itself by allowing citizens to take responsibility for their pets. In addition to that, there are strict laws which punish animal abuse which are similar to the way that people define human abuse in other countries as well.

 

There is a respect for life in Europe of all forms of species, whether you are talking about human, animal, or any other kind. This change in the law has also affected the level of education that people have about animals and has made sure that when a pet owner decides to take in a pet that they keep them for life. Any owner of a pet who is caught tossing the pet out will be fined and also could face charges for animal cruelty.

 

We bring pets into our home, we treat them like family. Why is it that when they need us the most and they are ill, that we abandon them? There are also many programs in Europe which do just that, they allow for the owners to have government assistance when it comes to caring for their pets. That means that animals will get the care that they need and no one suffers with the burden of euthanasia.

This Pooch Was Made For Walkin’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are some who think that walking dogs on leashes constrains dogs and suppresses their natural behaviors. Just imagine, however, a world where everyone just let their dogs loose and free to roam; free-range dogs if you will. As you’re walking, reward your dog frequently for staying next to you or slightly ahead and for looking up at you. If you do this consistently, he’ll learn that 1) if he stays near you or looks at you, he gets treats and gets to keep moving, and 2) if he pulls on the leash, the fun stops because he doesn’t get to keep walking and he has to come back to you and sit.
Consistency is the key to teaching your dog to heel, thus not to pull. Think about it, is consistency not the key to teaching children how to and how not to behave? In upper dog circles like show dogs and such, the focus is on extensive precision heel training. Basically this means, getting your dog’s front paws to match your stride, match your movement and pivot as you turn.

 

Another very important thing to keep in mind is that until your dog is precision heel trained, all walks must be seen as learning experiences and used as teachable moments. You can’t just train inside and on agility courses and then let your pooch go wild when you walk. This is not consistent. Tire you furry friend out before the walk so that you can focus on the task at hand which is precision heeling, and not on the smells and sights around you and your dog. Walk at a swift pace to prevent the lingering dog to smell everything in sight thus creating a jerky, less fluid experience. Make yourself more interesting than the surroundings. Bring small, bite-size treats to aid in this process. Your walks should be frequent, short and fun! Always reward your little friend frequently for staying next to or slightly ahead of you, and for looking up.

 

So, why do they pull? A common myth is that dogs pull because they are trying to be “dominant” and leader of the pack. There is another myth that a dog should always walk behind his owner and that if he chances to forge ahead because he does not respect the handler or is somehow challenging their authority. But, no, they do it because it works, they are faster and they are untrained.

 

As mentioned above, dogs gravitate toward things that are interesting. You are advised to find ways to become very interesting to your dog. This may involve the use of yummy treats, favorite toys, and other rewards like the opportunity to sniff, chase, and/or roll in the grass. A consistently strong reinforcement history makes owners very interesting to dogs. Once you’ve established a strong reinforcement history then practice your loose leash walking skills.

 

In the lured walking exercise, start with your dog standing at your left side. Having several treats enclosed in your left hand, hold your left hand within 1 inch of your dog’s nose. Command, “Let’s walk,” and walk in your intended direction while every few seconds popping a small treat into your dog’s mouth, and praising her for walking along at your pace. Lured walking is a gradual increase in the number of steps taken between highly desirable treats given, starting with one treat per step.
Red light, green light is an exercise in which your dog needs to have the sit and come commands already mastered. Basically, if your dog pulls then you stop, wait until there is slack on the leash then call your dog back. If they maintain eye contact and stay near you, give them a treat.
In closing, patience, time and lots of yummy treats are what it takes to conquer this task of peaceably walking with your pet.

 

Remember when you learned to walk the level of care and patience that your parents showed you. This is what you need to do to make sure that you are able to give your pets the same level of care and love that you would want to give to a child. This will ensure that you are able to keep your pet happy and healthy for the long term. After all who are our pets if they are not members of our family? Whether you realize it or not, you will spend more time with your pet than you will in many ways with any one else, be patient and kind.